Stylish NYC Micro-Housing Showcased at MCNY

The TV wall slides away to reveal storage shelves

The 325 square-foot solution on display at MCNY: the TV wall slides away to reveal storage shelves. Source: MCNY

With all the single people living in Manhattan and the outer boroughs, it’s kind of shocking to find that building stylish, affordable micro-units is still illegal in most of the City. What’s a renter to do?

Get over to Museum of the City of New York pronto and take a look at the future in the hugely popular show, Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers.

It’s no surprise that the housing stock here doesn’t match the demand. MCNY and the Citizens Housing & Planning Council got together to put on a show that raises the possibility of change, showcases several innovative solutions proposed by design teams, and presents a full-scale, walk-through model apartment: a 325 square-foot micro-space (built and furnished by Clei and Resource Furniture).

The sofa turns into a bed

The sofa turns into a bed. Source: MCNY

Apparently our City’s is due to grow by 600,000 people over the next 20 years, so the question becomes – where is everyone going to live? How can people live affordably? Is there a way to create living spaces that are flexible as families grow? Listen as CHPC’s Jerilyn Perine lays it all out in this fascinating 11-minute presentation at the 2011 kick-off to the project, focusing on housing demand, illegal rentals, and rental history in New York.

Currently, the City regulates things such as occupancy, density, minimum room size, parking areas, lot coverage, the number of dwelling units that can be on a single lot, and the proportion of living vs. working space in some parts of town. And, yes, most neighborhoods prohibit building spaces like the micro-studio at the center of the MCNY show. CHPC’s projects imagined what could be if some of those regulations (well intended) were relaxed.

Read about the background of CHPC’s Making Room project and design competition and find links to related TED talks, sites, and the proposed design solutions – stacks of prefabricated apartments, mini-bungalows for the Bronx, and repurposed industrial spaces in Brooklyn. The CHPC site shows details of each of the five featured plans.

But the star of the MCNY show is the model studio. Here’s a video of what you can experience for a few more days. (The show was held over by popular demand.) Note the transformation of the Cubista (the ottoman-looking piece of furniture that unfolds), and so many other smart small-space design choices.

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