Precedent Study: Carmel Place

Carmel Place was the winning proposal for former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg’s “adAPT NYC” initiative to challenge the density and typology of housing in New York City. Located at 335 East 27th Street, Carmel Place is part of the historic Kips Bay neighborhood in Manhattan along the East River. Completed in 2016, nARCHITECTS, in collaboration with Monadnock Development, not only designed the first micro-unit apartment building in New York City, but also the tallest modular building in Manhattan, at nine stories tall, at the time of construction. The steel frame modular units were constructed and assembled in a Brooklyn Navy Yard factory then transported across the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of the night to be stacked on site. All 55 units were stacked and connected on site in one month

The 65 modular units used in 35,000 square foot Carmel Place apartment building are 11’ wide, have ceilings at 9’-8” and range from 260 square feet to 360 square feet. The minimum size for New York City studio apartments, as determined by Quality Housing Regulations, is 400 square feet; an exemption was made to allow the construction of Carmel Place as a prototype for micro-unit living in New York City. In addition to being a new building typology, and modular in construction, the pricing structure of Carmel Place is also innovative. 22 out of the 55 residential units, 40% are allocated as affordable housing and eight of those units are dedicated to formerly homeless US veterans. The remaining 33 units are rented at market rate, approximately $3,000 per month, or $8.33 per square foot (for a 360 square foot unit). The other 10, non-residential units, are used for core building functions and amenities.

The modular design of a parking garage can be related to the modular design of micro housing units at Carmel Place. The typical parking space in the United States nine feet wide by eighteen feet long and 162 square feet. To compensate for smaller than average unit sizes, nARCHITECTS included various public amenities including a green roof, community room, roof terrace, fitness center, laundry facilities, and a study room. The steel structure and brick exterior materials represent an ideological shift affordable housing from temporary to durable. The Phoenix Center in Pontiac, Michigan already has a green space plaza on top and each level of the parking deck has a sufficient amount of space to accommodate all of those amenities while still achieving a similar density of units. Carmel Place is a residential building with a few units for retail at the ground floor, but the idea of modular units is not limited to only residential use but also as business, office and small manufacturing space.

Making Carmel Place from Antti T Seppänen – Oiva-Filmi on Vimeo.

Featured image by nARCHITECTS

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