Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
Blesso Properties + Bronx Pro + Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) + James McCullar Architecture team up to create a vision for the future of housing in New York City for the Bloomberg Administration. The prototype, called Max, unites 250 sf micro apartments with an amenities summit at the top of the building for residents to share.
(New York, NY - January 22, 2012) In July 2012, the Bloomberg Administration and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) launched adAPT NYC, a pilot program to develop a new model of housing to adapt to the City’s changing demographics. The City went on to shortlist five proposals, including ‘Max’, a concept by real estate developers Blesso Properties and Bronx Pro Group, with design led by HWKN Architects. Though the City awarded the project to another team today, it recognized as a finalist the innovative approach taken by the ‘Max’ team. The adAPT NYC finalist proposals will be showcased as part of the Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers exhibition, opening tomorrow at the Museum of the City of New York.
Max represents a new way to live in the city. The building is a community incubator, packed with public spaces to work, hang out and network. The 56 apartments are small, 250 square feet each, but utility doesn’t mean compromise. These efficient machines for living are arranged around a vertical public core, topped by a “hat” of communal rooftop amenity space, giving Max its unique disposition. Max wants you to make friends, have a drink, socialize, and expand beyond your four walls.
“Turning the typical skyscraper on its head, establishing amenity spaces where typically the high-priced penthouse apartments are located, changes everything. It unites and empowers the community”--Matthias Hollwich
An unparalleled team came together for this proposal, created through the partnership between real estate developers Blesso Properties and Bronx Pro – two real estate development firms with complementary successes and expertise. Blesso Properties brings a track record of creating unique projects rooted in environmental stewardship and social responsibility, while Bronx Pro has been dedicated to community development through investments in sustainable affordable housing throughout New York City. The team looks forward to implementing the concepts it developed for adAPT NYC, in future projects in New York and elsewhere.
"We are thrilled that the City recognized the vision we articulated for adAPT NYC," said Matthew Blesso, Founder and CEO of Blesso Properties. "Shared resources, community building, and environmental sustainability have always been integral drivers for our projects. We're delighted that the Mayor and the City share these concerns and embrace them as opportunities – not just with adAPT, but for the next generation of housing in New York and beyond."
Blesso continued, "Housing needs today are very different than they were 50 years ago yet the industry’s mindset and hence our housing stock has not evolved. Our housing needs will continue to evolve, and we're excited to operate at the forefront of this discussion."
Max is designed to be a community asset. It is careful not to turn its back to its surrounding neighbors, but to instead turn a warm eye to the public space around it. Maximized glazing makes it inviting, and its green hat makes it a beacon of curiosity and potential about a new way to live in the city.
Max’s massing is made up of three major pieces. A basement lobby connects to a ground floor open retail level with 15’-0” ceiling heights. Above that is an elegant 9-story residential component clad in black brick with aluminum window mullions. The assemblage is topped with a planted hat that screens mechanical space and houses community amenities.
“For us it was crucial to create both a new way of living and an icon to communicate this new lifestyle to the larger city. Max takes advantage of city regulations regarding height and setbacks to create a unique kind of crown. The Chrysler Building and Empire State Building have their needles. The Citigroup Building has its angle. We designed Max’s hat to define the micro-living movement and create a roofscape of amenities for the residents of the building.”--Marc Kushner, AIA.
At 105’ tall, including the “amenities summit”, Max is designed to be a community icon for a new way of living. Starting at the ground floor, Max questions the typical rules of a residential development. The lobby is a hub that is connected to retail and a community space downstairs. Moving up through the building is a social experience that is composed of double-height spaces for gathering, enjoying movies, collaborating and socializing. At the very top of the building, in the amenities space, the entire floor plate is given over to community uses such as a gym, hot tub and climbing wall. The building’s mass tapers at the crown to maximize visibility from the street. It is covered in foliage to create a visual connection to the surrounding park and physically connect the inhabitants to nature.
HWKN (Hollwich Kushner) designed each of Max’s 56 micro-unit apartments to feel big within a small footprint. Features such as a built-in bed, sofa and storage reduce furniture costs and clutter. Every apartment at Max is exactly the same size in 4 different layouts. Every inhabitant lives in a micro-unit. There is no hierarchy in Max.
Of paramount importance to Max’s design was accessibility - both financial and physical. Every single apartment at Max is completely handicapped accessible. As an older demographic moves back to the city, micro-units in projects similar to Max will be a great solution for seniors on fixed incomes looking for a social place to live.
Max’s ecology doesn’t just come from density. Landscaping and outdoor space represent a central feature of the project. In addition to a cohesive landscaping plan with native, drought-tolerant species, seating areas provide for outdoor enjoyment on the roof. Rainwater captured from the roof is designed to be used for irrigation and sidewalk washing.