Building Envelope Conundrum

CHPC's Building Envelope Study has led to many changes as part of the Zoning for Quality and Affordability text change

The de Blasio administration’s Housing New York plan has set many ambitious goals for the development of new housing in the city – and has acknowledged that extra floor area for residential construction will be necessary.

CHPC’s board members are on the front lines of developing affordable housing. As such, they provide valuable insights into how the city can construct more housing, and improve its design and quality.

Recently, some of our board members had begun to raise an issue they had been experiencing that was constraining residential development. The rules that define the building envelope within contextual zoning were making it difficult, sometimes impossible, to fit the allotted floor area into their building. The building envelope defines the maximum three-dimensional shape that a new building can occupy.

We decided to take a closer look at how the building envelope rules within contextual zoning can sometimes result in fewer residential units being built.  We examined seventeen sites to see how much the building envelope rules affected the residential construction.

Our study found that eight out of the seventeen buildings were unable to use all of their allotted floor area because of the building envelope rules. In other words, it is often the building envelope that is the determinant of the development capacity of a new building rather than its floor area.

Our study helped to begin a dialogue with the Department of City Planning to see how these rules, put in place decades ago, could best be changed to reflect the realities of constructing residential buildings in New York City today. And this work became the Zoning for Quality and Affordability text amendment that passed the City Council in March. Throughout 2015, we worked with DCP to help them to develop the technical details of the text change and we served as an educational resource for Community Boards, the City Planning Commission and Council Members throughout the public review process.

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Read the full study here.

 

  • Building Envelope Primer

    As the City Planning Commission hearing on the Zoning for Quality and Affordability text amendment approaches tomorrow, do you still find yourself unsure about why they are proposing changes to the “building envelope”?

    If you have 9 minutes free, why not watch a summary of CHPC’s Building Envelope Conundrum study that highlighted some of the zoning issues that the text change is attempting to solve.

    Read more
  • The Building Envelope Conundrum

    BuildingEnvelopeR7X

    The de Blasio administration’s newly announced Housing New York plan has set many ambitious goals for the development of new housing in the city – and has acknowledged that extra floor area for residential construction will be necessary.

    CHPC’s board members are on the front lines of developing affordable housing. As such, they provide valuable insights into how the city can construct more housing, and improve its design and quality.

    Recently, some of our board members had begun to raise an issue they had been experiencing that was constraining residential development. The rules that define the building envelope within contextual zoning were making it difficult, sometimes impossible, to fit the allotted floor area into their building. The building envelope defines the maximum three-dimensional shape that a new building can occupy.

    We decided to take a closer look at how the building envelope rules within contextual zoning can sometimes result in fewer residential units being built. 

    Read more

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CHPC testimony on ZQA

IMG_3363smallThe (14 hour) City Planning Commission hearing on the proposed text changes for Mandatory Inclusionary and Zoning for Quality and Affordability

Long lines formed yesterday at Bowling Green for a public hearing by the City Planning Commission on two proposed zoning text amendments: Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH). The two proposals are key elements of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing Plan.

After waiting back in our offices for nearly 10 hours (!), we were very happy to testify in support of the ZQA text change which has many incredibly important changes for housing. As we …

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Building Envelope Primer

As the City Planning Commission hearing on the Zoning for Quality and Affordability text amendment approaches tomorrow, do you still find yourself unsure about why they are proposing changes to the “building envelope”?

If you have 9 minutes free, why not watch a summary of CHPC’s Building Envelope Conundrum study that highlighted some of the zoning issues that the text change is attempting to solve.

YouTube Preview ImageRead more

Progressive Thinking on the Building Envelope

Earlier this year, after listening to concerns raised by our board members, we began to investigate how outdated rules governing building envelopes within contextual zoning can sometimes result in fewer residential units being built.  We examined seventeen sites to see how much the building envelope rules affected the residential construction. Take a look at our full publication.

This morning, Friday September 19th, CHPC joined together with the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) to discuss the findings of our study the “Building Envelope Conundrum.” The six person panel took place at the Center for Architecture.…

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This Friday- The Building Envelope Conundrum Panel

BuildingEnvelopeR7X

When: 8:00am-10:00 am, Friday, September 19th
Where: The Center For Architecture, 536 Laguardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

Come to the Center for Architecture to see a presentation on CHPC’s “Building Envelope” study – and to offer your suggestions on how to solve this conundrum to the Department of City Planning (DCP).

The Building Envelope Conundrum is a fascinating case study looking into the impact of the contextual building envelope rules on residential development. We found that eight out of seventeen recent residential projects were unable to use all of their permitted floor area due to the rules that …

Read more

The Building Envelope Conundrum

BuildingEnvelopeR7X

The de Blasio administration’s newly announced Housing New York plan has set many ambitious goals for the development of new housing in the city – and has acknowledged that extra floor area for residential construction will be necessary.

CHPC’s board members are on the front lines of developing affordable housing. As such, they provide valuable insights into how the city can construct more housing, and improve its design and quality.

Recently, some of our board members had begun to raise an issue they had been experiencing that was constraining residential development. The rules that define the building envelope within contextual …

Read more