New Strategies Units

New Strategies

Installation view.


The apartment models in this case illustrate recent experiments that use the strategy of allowing increased density to grow the city’s supply of “affordable” housing – which means the project both needs some form of public subsidy to build and requires renters to document their income eligibility. As a response to the demand for more variety of housing types, these new projects generally include large numbers of compact units, higher lot coverage on small or residual sites, and mid-rise buildings with ground-floor community space or retail.

Acacia Gardens

Photograph of Acacia Gardens. Photograph courtesy of MAP Architects.

Plan of Acacia Gardens.
The first project built under New York City’s new “Extremely Low and Low-Income Affordability” (ELLA) program, Acacia Gardens was developed under the Harlem Rezoning of 2017. The corner development matched market standards of building organization, unit arrangements and size, and building amenities. The unit strategy helped deliver a higher density consistent with the rezoning goals.

The units are organized around a central area that acts as both foyer and visual center of the rooms. This rather large “open space” at the center of the apartment orients to the kitchen, entry, the bedrooms, and the living room, making an otherwise small unit feel spacious upon arrival.

Date: 2018
Units: 179
Shown: 2 Bedroom Apartment, 815 SF

Arbor House

Arbor House. Photograph courtesy of Bernstein Associates.

Floor plan of Arbor House.
Built as part of the NYCHA infill strategy using contextual zoning, Arbor House creates a new courtyard that relates to the existing NYCHA buildings. The small but efficient apartments, delivering density levels higher than the adjacent NYCHA project, are typical of new affordable housing in New York. The aim is to add housing that helps rebuild neighborhood vitality and street life without displacement of existing NYCHA tenants.

The unit layout is organized in three equal areas, with entry directly into the deep living space and bedrooms. The similar widths of the living room and bedrooms, along with the consistent location of the kitchens and bathrooms to the corridor, makes it easy to create unit mix variations from floor to floor.

Date: 2011
Units: 124
Shown: 2 Bedroom Apartment, 720 SF

Carmel Place

Carmel Place. Photograph courtesy of nARCHITECTS.

Floor plan of Carmel Place.
Carmel Place was the first micro-unit apartment building in NYC. The micro-unit strategy was widely hailed whenfirst proposed because of the growing demand for apartments to house individuals and childless couples.

The tiny apartments offer an opportunity to develop small lots in desirable neighborhoods. The efficiency apartments, however, deliver only moderate density (even with high ground coverage on a small site) because they are not suitable for families. The architects aimed to achieve a sense of spaciousness through high ceilings, tall sliding windows, and Juliet balconies. Efficiency of space is delivered through flexible built-in furnishings that integrate storage, couch, and bed into the layout of almost half of the units. Modular construction techniques utilized in the project offered further efficiencies.

Date: 2016
Units: 20
Shown: Studio Apartment, 300 SF