CHPC had a wonderful day touring the real world of New York City housing! On February 28, CHPC staff members visited a number of sites in Brooklyn that are closely related to our work.
We were happy to be joined for the day by a studio of graduate students of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture. Georgia Tech professor Michael Gamble is leading a three-year design + research studio entitled, 21st Century Housing: Making Room in the Contemporary City, for students to develop fully-realized buildings that respond to environmental realities, as well as support the needs of 21st century households and lifestyles. Professor Gamble brought his students to New York City for several days of site visits and tours of modern, well-designed compact apartments supported by communal spaces. Also joining us were Lisa Blecker and Laura Anderson of Resource Furniture, Diana Budds, a writer at Dwell Magazine, and Tricia Napor from the Alcoa Foundation.
Our day began at Navy Green, a supportive housing residence adjacent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Vanderbilt Avenue. Navy Green is operated by the Pratt Area Community Council, a non-profit organization based nearby in Brooklyn, with CHPC President Mark Ginsberg as the technical architect. PACC staff took our group through the building, highlighting its public spaces, well-lit corridors and stairwells, and a comfortable studio apartment for formerly homeless residents.
From Navy Green, our group went to Capsys, a producer of modular apartment units located inside the Navy Yard. There, we toured the assembly line of their massive building, once used to build warships but now converted to create apartments. We had the chance to walk through some nearly completed modules that were set for a supportive housing development targeted for military veterans in the Bronx.
After lunch at the Navy Yard’s Building 92, CHPC and the Georgia Tech cohort visited nArchitects at their offices in DUMBO. nArchitects won the Bloomberg administration’s adAPT competition – to design a micro-unit building on East 27th Street in Manhattan. Partner Eric Bunge described the firm’s vision, its work to date, and walked the group through the process of winning the adAPT competition and the meticulous planning that was required to make the building happen.
It was a day full of learning about new approaches to housing a wide range of populations—a great way to connect the work of CHPC to the way New Yorkers are actually living and to introduce the Georgia Tech students to the diversity of our living spaces.