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NYC’s Hotly Anticipated Micro-Unit Project Plans March Delivery of Modules

by Lark Turner

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A rendering of the modular construction process. design nARCHITECTS, illustration courtesy Mir.no

My Micro NY, the 55-unit building that won former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s competition in 2013 to build a multi-family micro-unit building in the city, is aiming for a March delivery of its modules for a fall 2015 final delivery date.

nARCHITECTS’ Ammr Vandal, the project manager for My Micro NY, gave UrbanTurf an update on the project this week.

My Micro NY is being constructed in modular units off-site that, once completed, should take two weeks to install on the project’s Kips Bay site — a minimum timeline Vandal called “absolutely crazy.” After that, all that’s left is putting on the building’s brick facade and installing the units’ last two components: flooring and the glass backsplash in the kitchens, which the architects worried wouldn’t survive installation.

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An exterior rendering of the project. design nARCHITECTS, illustration courtesy Mir.no

“The modules for the units are all being constructed right now at Brooklyn Navy Yard, and we have completed construction on floors 2-6,” Vandal said. “Next up are floors 8-9, and last will be the modules for floor 7.”

The 250 to 370 square-foot units won’t be furnished, with the exception of a few model apartments, so that residents can figure out the furnishings that work best for them in a small space. The project will have a downstairs retail component as well as a gym for residents.

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An interior rendering of a unit. design nARCHITECTS, illustration courtesy Ledaean

The team, which has never taken on a similar project, has run into a few snags while working out how to make the building become a reality, especially given NYC’s strict code. That code dictates, for example, that living rooms must be a minimum of eight feet wide.

“It’s a lot of negotiating, juggling and trying to find or squeeze out your inches and making sure that everything is compliant,” Vandal explained. “It’s been a challenge to say the least.”

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Modular units under construction at Capsys in Brooklyn Navy Yard. Courtesy nARCHITECTS.

The architects went to great lengths to make the units feel larger than they really are, and Vandal says their efforts have paid off.

“We definitely thought that if you are reducing the area that people are living in, we need to increase the ceiling height. And the ceilings are tall. They’re about 9’8”, much taller than the standard 8 feet. So when you walk in you don’t feel like you’re cramped,” Vandal said. “The other thing we were able to do, which is related, was put in really tall, 8-foot windows. Having personally gone into these units in the shop, I was very happy to realize that what we had intended is definitely there. You don’t feel cramped, you feel like you’re in a bigger space.”

If the project finishes up smoothly and the experiment pays off, Vandal said both her firm and New York City would be excited to build more micro-units.

“Whatever we learn from this project can be replicated,” she said. “That’s been the purpose of the project all along. We would definitely be interested in pursuing this further, and I’m sure the city would be interested in pursuing this in the future.”

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/nycs_most_hotly_anticipated_micro_project_plans_march_delivery/9399

1 Comment

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 8:00 pm on Tuesday January 13, 2015:

    Two items of note to the local audience:

    1) The larger units of this development have approximately the same square footage as the smaller units of the two completed microunit buildings we have in DC—the Harper and the Drake.  NYC may be superfabulous, but for this (as with Bikeshare and gay marriage, among other things) we got to the finish line first.  DC Pride!

    2) The prefabricated concept is interesting, but in DC, it would smack against our old adversary, the Height Limit.  As one can see in the photos, each module has a floor and a ceiling.  In effect, when assembled, it’s double-thick, eating up inches of vertical space.  In NY, that’s not a big deal, but in height-limited DC, every inch counts.  Same goes for the marvelous 9’-8” ceilings: in DC, we’d have to choose between higher ceilings and an extra floor or two of units, and we all know, sadly, which would prevail in 98% of projects.  DC Shame!

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