July 24, 2019

New York, NY, July 24, 2019 – The Center for Architecture is pleased to present the exhibition Big Ideas Small Lots, opening on Thursday, August 1 at 6:00 pm. The exhibition, organized in collaboration with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), presents the five finalists of the Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC competition, which sought innovative solutions to transform difficult-to-develop properties into affordable housing.

“This city has long been at the forefront of urban planning, and has always pushed the envelope to foster bright and innovative ideas. We are building upon that legacy to unlock new ways to solve the affordable housing crisis through design,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “I thank the team at AIANY for their partnership throughout this process, and I congratulate our finalists on their winning designs. We look forward to reviewing the proposals, for a fresh take on what affordable housing can look like in New York City.”

Dozens of small and irregular lots stand vacant in New York City. These lots, many owned by the City, are considered too small and too difficult to develop by conventional means, yet they are too large to ignore, especially amid a shortage of affordable housing. Looking to the design community for fresh solutions, in early 2019 HPD and AIA New York organized a design competition, Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC, to explore new affordable housing options for 23 small, oddly-shaped lots scattered across the city.

The competition invited architects and designers from around the globe to submit proposals that demonstrated excellence in design for small-scale, urban infill affordable housing that could be replicated across various contexts.

Five finalists’ designs rose to the top of the 444 proposals from 36 countries across five continents that HPD received over the two-month submission period. A panel of nine jurors evaluated submissions for distinct design, replicability, and construction feasibility.

The finalists include:

  • “Mass Green Living” by Anawan/101 + Kane AUD
  • “Greenfill House as Garden” by Michael Sorkin Studio
  • “Fold and Stack” by OBJ
  • “Only If” by Only If Architecture
  • “More with Less” by Palette Architecture

The five finalist teams are working with HPD to convert their winning designs into viable affordable housing development proposals. To assist the teams in developing their proposals, HPD is facilitating a series of workshops, networking opportunities, and other tools throughout this process.

The exhibition at the Center for Architecture, curated by architectural historian Gideon Fink Shapiro and designed by Manuel Miranda Practice, explores the challenges and opportunities for small-lot infill housing. Explanatory texts and diagrams describe infill development in New York City and explain how the city categorizes irregular lots. A wall of “big ideas,” from novel co-housing models to modular components and shared amenity spaces, offers a glimpse of the creative vision behind the design proposals received by the competition jury. Above all, Big Ideas Small Lots offers a deep dive into the five finalist projects, ultimately providing new ideas for infill development that is at once economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and contextually appropriate. The exhibition also showcases an installation of products by Resource Furniture, a company that specializes in space-saving furniture for modern urban consumers.

Big Ideas Small Lots will be on view through November 2, 2019.

Related Events 

Thursday, August 1, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Big Ideas: Finalists’ Presentations
Monday, September 9, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
With representatives from Anawan/101 + Kane AUD, Michael Sorkin Studio, OBJ, Only If Architecture, and Palette Architecture

Small Lots: Rethinking Infill Development
Tuesday, October 29, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Big Ideas Small Lots is made possible with the support of the following sponsors:

Resource Furniture

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026.  For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.

About Resource Furniture
Resource Furniture is North America’s original, largest and most comprehensive source for cutting-edge, space-saving, and space-transforming living solutions. With more than 18 years of experience working with consumers, architects, builders, developers, and real estate professionals, Resource Furniture brings a unique and unparalleled perspective to every project. With eight showrooms in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Resource Furniture continues to redefine the industry, offering products that transform any space with both form and function.

About AIA New York
Founded in 1857, AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Chapter’s members include 5,500 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design. AIA New York is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach, and professional development. www.aiany.org

About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience. www.centerforarchitecture.org