A Home for Many — New York, New York

Date: 2019
Status: Proposal
Category: Affordable Housing, Civic
Team: Chris Leong, Dominic Leong, Christopher Lee, Yu-Hsiang Lin, Jessie Baxa, Hannah Frossard
Collaborators: Guy Nordenson & Associates, Transsolar KlimaEngineering

What does quality, affordable housing look like for a contemporary life in New York City?

With only 18% of the city’s housing occupied by nuclear families, an emerging priority for NYC housing must be intersectionality. As New York City’s demographics shift, so must our domestic infrastructure. Non-nuclear families. Single parents. The elderly. The disabled. These are the populations ignored by current housing design. These are the populations for which “A Home for Many” provides.

“A Home for Many” is a modular design system that embraces the changing patterns of living. The system defines a kit of parts that can be assembled according to varying contexts and lot sizes making it easily replicable. Through the flexibility of this kit, each building becomes a vibrant mosaic that represents the diversity of New York City.

“A Home for Many” creates more value by integrating sustainable systems (both passive and active) to provide a better quality of life for residents.

From the outside in, the building is super-insulated above the standards set by Energy Conservation Code maintaining continuous envelope of R-40, ultra air-tight construction, high performance triple-glazed low-e windows, energy recovery units, and optionality for geo-thermal to maximize energy efficiency and conservation.

One of the primary challenges of building on small lots is the access to adequate daylight. To address this issue, we have created a “light core” that centrally located in the plan to provide natural light to the heart of the plan, making the living room and kitchen luminous like the exterior-facing rooms. The “light core” is an enclosed space topped with a large skylight on the roof and connected to energy recovery unit, in use while the space is in mechanical heat and cooling mode, and a whole house fan, in use during natural ventilation mode. Vents and exhaust at each floor connect individual units to the “light core” transforming it into a whole house mechanical infrastructure. At the envelope, large triple glazed fixed windows draw ample daylight and view into the bedrooms with screening shades and fully-operable casements in a portion of the window to maximize natural ventilation.

Photovoltaic cells on the roof convert solar energy into power for heating hot water and other small mechanical systems in the building. A mechanical closet in the cellar for a Stormwater Detention Tank and Geothermal Heat Pump that can be connected to the VRF system when budget allows. Balconies are an additional component that can be added to the house. These generous balconies offer a connection to the environment while doubling as solar shading on the southern exposure.

Proposal for the NYC Small Lots Competition