2017 AIA Awards - Architecture
The winning design for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2013 adAPT NYC competition, Carmel Place opened last year and set new standards as a prototype for micro living.
The competition tasked firms with responding to the city’s growing small-household population as part of the Bloomberg administration’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, which aimed to bring new options to the city’s housing market.
Carmel Place is the tallest Manhattan building constructed modularly, one of the borough’s first multiunit buildings to employ the method. Fifty-five studio apartments ranging in size from 260 to 360 square feet are all luminous and efficient, with ceiling heights over nine feet, Juliet balconies, and generous overhead storage featured in their compact footprint. Twenty-two of the units are dedicated to affordable housing, of which eight are Section 8 housing for formerly homeless veterans that includes integrated furniture.
Shared spaces, such as a gym, lounge, and public roof terrace, encourage interaction among residents on a daily basis, proving that someone who lives on their own doesn’t necessarily need to live alone.
The biggest challenge facing the design team was to shift New York’s notorious housing market in a way that could be replicated and provide positive social impact while operating under restrictive regulatory and economic constraints. With the social goals in mind, the team selected modular construction, which allowed for foundations to be constructed on site while modules were built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. With a construction time of just four weeks, this method drastically reduced on-site noise and neighborhood disruption.
Reflecting the city’s skyline in its design, the exterior is composed of four slender stepped towers. With setbacks governing the design logic, the building’s urban form would be suitable for any city block, its range of heights and square-footage allotments creating a new framework for living small.