New York micro-apartment design winner announced

The architects' rendering of their design. Click the image to see more pictures.
The architects' rendering of their design. Click the image to see more pictures.

Seeking to ease New York City’s legendary housing crunch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg today announced the winner of the city's micro-unit apartment design competition, aimed at fostering an innovative use of limited space.

All of the units will have 10-foot-high ceilings, Juliet balconies (which don't project from the building), big windows and ample storage, according to Bloomberg. The New York Times writes that “if the rendering is any indication,” the micro-units “manage to feel roomy and inviting.” (Click here or on an image to go to a slideshow of the winning micro-apartment design.)

The winning team is composed of Monadnock Development LLC, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and nARCHITECTS.

The 55 micro-apartments, on a city-owned site at 335 East 27th Street in Manhattan, are supposed to be ready for move-in by September 2015. There’s no indication yet of what the units will cost to rent, but 22 of them will be set aside for low- and middle-income renters who make 80 percent to 155 percent of the Area Median Income. The income-restricted unit rents will range from $940 to $1,870 a month, city housing officials told Yahoo! Homes.

The project, dubbed My Micro NY, will be the first multi-unit building to use modular construction, with units prefabricated in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, according to a statement by the mayor’s office.

A micro-apartment is typically defined as a studio with less than 400 square feet, not much bigger than a typical college dorm room. These apartments, at 250 to 370 square feet, will be exempt from city rules that require new units to be at least 400 square feet.

With smaller living spaces, new apartment buildings could literally pack in more renters. That’s the “less is more” concept that drove the competition to design, construct and operate the city’s first micro-unit apartment building.

“The growth rate for one- and two-person households greatly exceeds that of households with three or more people, and addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations,” Bloomberg told reporters.

A number of innovative space-saving plans, including competition winners' designs, are featured in an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, called “Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers.”

Fifty-five units will hardly make a dent in New York’s housing problems, but clearly the city is trying to encourage new developers – and renters – to consider the advantages of well thought out micro-dwellings. Cities such as San Francisco and Tokyo have already taken similar steps.

A model floorplan. Click the image to go to more architectural pictures.
A model floorplan. Click the image to go to more architectural pictures.


Related on Yahoo! Homes:

Design tips from a tiny Swedish apartment
Small-space wisdom from Karin Karlsson
The story behind, and within, the world's thinnest home
In photos: At home in the world's narrowest house
Learn from an ultra-narrow house