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In November 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the target of building or preserving 300,000 affordable homes by 2026, for this target vacant City-owned lots that are challenging to develop due to their small size become critical to create more affordable housing. The backdrop for this studio was a Competition called “Big Ideas for Small Lots” addressing housing in these small lots, the timing of this competition for the studio was perfect as students have been able to attend several lectures and exhibitions addressing this theme.

Each student developed a housing project on a specific irregular lot owned by the city of NY and defined a strategy on how to replicate this building model for different lot typologies, bringing to the table inventive ways of developing these small lots. This studio was set out as the introduction to independent research projects where design is a form of research in itself and invited students to have an active role in the definition of the framework for their design work with the following guidelines in mind:

1. Research about urban infill design, a recurrent theme for most North Eastern cities in USA (New York, Philadelphia, Newark, among others) that materialize in the development of a building with a set of strategies that could be applied to different lots.

2. Explore what “housing” and “domestic space” really mean nowadays and challenge established thought by proposing new ways of inhabiting that adapt to small lots and relate better with what society currently demands (i.e. co-living, micro- unit arrangements, live-work space, etc).

3. Study material and construction strategies that will produce exemplary buildings while seeking efficiency in affordability, long term efficiency/durability and replicability (to adapt to different site conditions and needs).

4. Propose compact and well linked projects that help regenerate these neighborhoods (regeneration projects as opposed to gentrification projects).

5. Be exposed to the requirements of current building codes and regulations.

 

STUDENTS SELECTED WORK: Ali Chahine, Juhee Kimura, Matthew Casaverde, Paola Bodano, RJ Fiorentino, Sebastian Faciolince & Margaux Thys