“Making Room” For New York

New York is filled with young singles and empty nesters who love talking about living spaces—the arduous search, the inevitable heartache and the victorious conquest of their beloved, cramped apartments. The city, in recognition of this trend, is developing tiny micro-units—flexibly furnished dwellings of just 325 square feet created for one- and two-person households.

According to research conducted by Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC), nearly half of the New York City population is single, with only 18% of the city’s housing units occupied by traditional nuclear families. Despite the surge in single population, the city is currently unequipped to provide enough single bedroom and studio spaces. The “Making Room” exhibit currently showing at Museum of the City of New York showcases creative and artistic solutions for accommodating the changing demographics of the city’s population.

Tiny dwellings, simple living

“Making Room: New Models of Housing for New Yorkers” exhibit features models and drawings of innovative housing designs by architectural teams commissioned in 2011 by Citizens Housing & Planning Council in partnership with the Architectural League of New York. The exhibition also presents micro-unit designs from the Bloomberg administration’s adAPT NYC Competition, as well as examples of small-space architectural designs from around the world.

MakingRoomModelAn innovative housing model on display. Photo: Sewon Christina Chung

The premise of the exhibit reflects the recent trend in architecture to celebrate minimal space, affordable housing and simpler living. In San Francisco, developers seek to rent out apartments as small as 150 square feet. A Berlin-based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel created the “One SQM House,” named for being the smallest house in the world (pictured above).

“Making Room” unveils the 350 square feet LaunchPad installation, a built and furnished micro-unit apartment complete with a bathroom, a kitchenette, and enough space for a sleeping space and living room. The apartment, equipped with clever storage and furniture solutions, features wall panels that conceal a bed, table on wheels stored beneath a kitchen counter and a flat-screen TV that slides on a rail attached to built-in shelves.

LaunchPadInstallation view of LaunchPad designed by Pierluigi Colombo and Amie Gross Architects. Photo: John Halpern / Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York

The winning submission of the adAPT NYC Competition—“ My Micro NY “ by Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS—will be developed and built on East 27th Street in Manhattan, bringing to life new housing ideas in New York City.

  • Museum of the City of New York – “Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers” – January 23rd – September 15, 2013, Mon – Sun: 10am – 6pm [Works not for sale]

Article by Sewon Christina Chung