Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers
Making Room is an initiative of Citizens Housing & Planning Council that seeks to better match New York City’s housing stock with the ways New Yorkers live now. For their study project and exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, Gans & Company developed three typologies: Local Addition (aka the Barnacle), single family homes with multiple accessory dwelling units; Re:MX, which installed micro-unit apartments above industrial work spaces, and Ravensnest, where adjoining apartments can blend to serve extended families.
Re:MX refers to the installation of housing on top of existing manufacturing buildings within New York City’s MX zones that allow these uses to coexist. The pre-fabricated micro-units are small with shared spaces, such as laundries and corner lounges. Housing is organized around a communal courtyard allowing for increased light and airflow.
RAVENSNEST takes its name from Ravenswood, the public housing located across the street. It is a seven-story alternative to tower development with swing bedrooms between adjoining apartments that can serve either one, depending on family size and need. Every two floors share a large lobby that serves as a communal living room and large outdoor balconies.
LOCAL ADDITION refers to the additional dwelling units (ADU) or apartments added to the attic, basement, back yard and garage of this single-family home, bringing the total number of residences to seven. The additions can provide income to allow an older homeowner to age in place, and house neighborhood newcomers or an extended family. Current ordinance limits the number of additions even if they obey all code requirements. At the scale of the block, the addition of a mews addresses the increased parking, garbage and service space required by the added density. It also supplies a community pedestrian way.
When used in proximity to each other, these types can increase density within the pre-existing context as an alternative to large-scale new development as seen in this plan for Ravenswood which is subject to population pressures from both internal local growth and external waterfront rezoning.
Making Room was exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York.
Deborah Gans spoke at the Japan Society on our work.
Design Team: Isobel Herbold, Sylvia Herbold, Palmer Moss