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Table Top Apartments

New York, NY
Kwong Von Glinow

Designed by the Chicago-based firm Kwong Von Glinow, Table Top Apartments is a modular system for constructing residential buildings on small footprints that aims to cultivate a new mode of living between inhabitants, neighbors, and the public. The scheme, which was awarded first prize in the 2017 New York Affordable Housing Challenge, is comprised of slabs that come in different shapes—a circle, a square, or a rectangle—supported by concrete posts. Together, the slabs create the building’s floor-plates, which have irregular spaces between the individual housing units. Those uneven spaces form communal areas where neighbors can meet and develop a sense of community. The resulting vertical spaces between floors also serve as public circulation and bring light and air into the units. The architects cite the concept of dining tables stacked on top of each other as their inspiration for this unusual approach to post and slab construction, which can also be expanded and/or reconfigured to create formally diverse structures. For example, the system could be arranged to create 4-story walk-ups, towers with setbacks and cascading balconies, and even superblocks. Overall, the spatial juxtaposition of the Table Top Apartments generates a housing that is dense, yet open and light—all elements targeted towards relieving social isolation in cities like New York.

Digital rendering of a series of interconnected apartment buildings composed of stacks of cylindrical and rectangular concrete slabs separated by floor-to-ceiling glazing in several different configurations
Image: Kwong Von Glinow.

Visual Description

A digital rendering of a series of interconnected concrete apartment buildings is viewed from across the street. Six nearly identical five-story towers are composed of circular or rectangular concrete floor slabs connected to the floors above by concrete pillars and floor-to-ceiling windows. Some floors are fully glazed while others are fully open and function as communal spaces for residents to gather in. People are seen lounging on balconies, walking along the street, or relaxing in their apartments. Potted plants are scattered throughout the scene, adding greenery to a mostly white and gray composition.

Digital rendering of a modern, concrete and glass apartment building flanked by more traditional brick and mortar structures along the same street.
Image: Kwong Von Glinow.

Visual Description

A digital rendering of three apartment buildings along a road is seen from across the street, which is out of view. On the left is a white brick and stone building with a rusty fire escape that juts out from the facade. Horizontal registers of pedimented windows run along each floor. On the right, a building with a tan brick facade also has horizontal registers of windows with some attached stucco decoration. The two buildings contrast against the building in the middle, which features concrete floor plates of different shapes, floor-to-ceiling glazing, balconies, and external staircases. Each floor has a railed balcony and potted plants. People can be seen lounging on the balconies and inside the apartment spaces.


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