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July 18, 2012
by Rick Bell FAIA Executive Director AIA New York

City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden, Hon. AIANY, NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and Housing Preservation & Development Commissioner Mathew Wambua at the adAPT NYC press conference at the Center for Architecture.

Rick Bell

From Mayor Bloomberg to children participating in the Center for Architecture Foundation’s programming, everyone at the Center for Architecture was talking about the beauty of small spaces.

Rick Bell

The City’s new micro-unit housing competition, adapt NYC was announced at the Center for Architecture on Monday, July 9, by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, accompanied by City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden, Hon. AIANY, and Housing Preservation & Development Commissioner Mathew Wambua. (Click here to watch the video.)

To demonstrate the potential of a change in the minimum housing unit size, a 300-square-foot apartment was delineated by bright yellow tape on the floor of the Center for Architecture’s Tafel Hall. Colorful furniture, fixtures, and fittings designed in-house by municipal architects led by Alexandros Washburn, AIA, were added in to give a sense of scale to the demonstration. Coming up on July 31, HPD will host a technical session at the Center to answer questions about the new initiative and the accompanying Request for Proposals.

The discussion to date has centered, in part, on how a smaller apartment might attract and retain recent graduates and those just entering the city’s job market. The AIANY’s Committee on Design for Aging, has also suggested the value of micro-units to an aging population for which the micro-unit may be right-sized. Whether for the young or less-young, the advantages of smaller units in a growing, high-density city were reflected in the many articles and blog entries appearing after the announcement. And students attending the Center for Architecture Foundation’s summer design camp also got into the mix, pondering design interventions while sitting at tables ringing this most adaptable apartment. Come see it at the Center, and hear or read about the city’s RFP.

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