Carmel Place (formerly known as My Micro NY)

Organization Name: nARCHITECTS

Project Title: Carmel Place (formerly known as My Micro NY)

Project Location: Kips Bay, Manhattan

Project Goals:
Carmel Place was nARCHITECTS / Monadnock Development's winning entry for Mayor Bloomberg's adAPT NYC competition. The adAPT NYC competition was created as part of the administration's New Housing Marketplace Plan to introduce additional choices within NYC's housing market and accommodate the city's growing small household population. With 1.8 million small households and only 1 million suitable apartments, many New Yorkers are left without proper housing options. Carmel Place proposes micro-unit living, in units that are smaller than the currently allowed 400sf for new construction, albeit with better and more integrated strategies for shared amenities. Living by yourself does not mean living alone. As the test project for a potentially new housing paradigm in the city, Carmel Place was designed as an easily repeatable, flexible yet systemic building type, clad in four shades of brick. The building's exterior form evokes four mini-towers, suggesting a microcosm of the city's skyline.

Project Description:
Carmel Place will be the first micro-unit apartment building in New York City, the tallest modular building in Manhattan and one of the first multi-unit Manhattan buildings using modular construction. Considering the extremely compact footprint of the units, the project focuses on maximizing quality and livability by optimizing the use of space, light, and air, such as 9’-8” floor-to-ceiling heights and large sliding doors that open onto Juliet balconies. Shared amenities include a ground floor gym that contributes to street life, a salon, den, community room, public roof terrace, bicycle and tenant storage and separate storage lockers dispersed throughout the building on each floor. 40% of the 55 micro-units, ranging from 250 to 370 square feet net, are affordable for low- and middle-income households.

Community Impact:
Modular construction proved essential in designing a new approach to affordable housing: efficient in terms of construction schedule and sequencing and at a higher level of quality. The modules were pre-fabricated in the Brooklyn Navy Yard at while foundation work occurred on site and then transported over the Brooklyn Bridge for stacking. Splitting the construction process greatly reduced on-site construction noise and neighborhood disruption. Placement of the various shared amenities throughout the building strategically encourages residents to interact with their neighbors throughout their daily routine – micro-living means living beyond the four walls of your apartment. By incorporating setbacks as a governing design logic, Carmel Place could in principle be adapted to many sites, at a range of heights and floor area ratios, and at nearly any location in a block.

Organization Description:
Principals Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang founded nARCHITECTS in 1999, with the aim of joining innovative concepts, social responsibility and technical precision in addressing contemporary issues. We design buildings, interiors and public spaces. We strive to create evocative and socially responsible work that resonates with our users’ visions and those of culture at large. Our approach to context is nuanced and agile, sensitive to opportunities and irreverent to clichés. We approach environmental questions as both technical and larger cultural issues. In short, we achieve simple designs that produce a richness and flexibility of experience, with an economy of conceptual and material means.

    Illustration of project creating an environment at various scales

    Street view of Carmel Place from public plaza

    All 75 modules under construction at Capsys in the Brooklyn Navy Yard

    Modular units lifted into place on-site in Kips Bay

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