WEST 136TH STREET, HARLEM,
New York, USA

Typology New Building Competition // Location Harlem, New York, USA // Client HPD, AIA New York // Surface Variable sqm // Project Alberto Lessan, Jacopo Bracco, Cristina Cimarusti // Project Team Davide Minervini, Emanuele Sciuva
The presented Project is an analytic response to the competition proposed by the New York City Department of Housing and Preservation (HPD), and the American Institute of Architects (AIA New York). The City of New York is facing nowadays a housing crisis. The population is growing and expected to reach 9 million by 2030. The city is constantly building, with roughly 25,000 new units constructed each year, transforming the skyline with cranes, scaffolding and sheds.
. The increasing demand of properties in New York produced a strong attention from American and foreigner investors who caused prices constantly grow in all the 5 boroughs of the City. Areas that were accessible and achievable by all people classes, have been progressively gentrificated and less fortunate people had to move to different and further areas. The site used as a Subject Site is in Harlem a special district of New York that is nowadays one of the most gentrificating district of the City. It is a small lot located in the 113Th West Street, close to the Malcom X Boulevard with 100ft of length and 17ft wide. It is in the Zoning District R7.2. It has the characteristic to be in a street with he majority of buildings with the same height. (47ft c.a.).
In the project we evaluate the feasibility and apply the project to other two proposed sites: the first is in Brooklyn, in St.Mark’s Avenue and East New York Avenue, that is characterized from an irregular shape and in the corner of the two streets. It has also two low adjacent buidings (one is a church) that discourage from a building higher than them. The third site we used as a case study and project is in the Bronx. It is located in 405 East Avenue 161st Street and has the particularity to have a nice and open exposition that allows to have balconies and terraces towards the street. This time we opted for the possibility of overpass in height the adjacent buildings. In the project we are presenting for this competition we promote excellence of Design, with affordable cost prices. Good quality of living and wellness has been investigated.
The main Intention of the Project is its REPLICABILITY. Thinking about affordable houses means to take care about spaces and optimization of resources. Houses that can be replicated in a different manner, is from our point of view, the best way of interpreting the demand of the brief of this Competition. Has been researched a high quality architectural design that can vary in multiple ways and create all the time different facades and volumes, The project is composed by RESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS in INDEPENDENT UNIT CELLS that stand one above another. It comes into the Subject Site a Building with FIVE STOREYS AND 4 DIFFERENT UNITS. The building is developed with a basement, containing the systems, laundry and storage, the ground floor with the entrance, accessible following the ADA Code.
Over the ground floor there are the 4 Apartments combined with:
ONE SIMPLEX at F2
TWO DUPLEX at F3
ONE SIMPLEX and ONE DUPLEX+ at F4
and a SIMPLEX at F5.

The apartments are designed to be outstanding cells that can be combined remaining with their autonomy. Balconies can be added depending by the characteristic and the features of the lots where the project is programmed. In this way the facade of the building can vary a lot one from another. There is the possibility, in fact, to choose if the balcony is wanted or not. The ROOFTOP is also an autonomous element and is like a tray that is posed over the last UNIT CELL. All the building is PREFABRICATED, but the basement that is with a Concrete Structure. The Building is composed by a distributive volume that include the stairs and the elevator. That volume is independent and reaches also the rooftop permitting to inhabithants to share that precious space, Different apartments are with different typology and surface in order to give the most possibility of choice.
Technological and constructive choices are oriented towards a modular architecture that from many points of view can be considered the future of construction methods. MODULAR CELLS ARE INDIPENDENT ONE OVER ANOTHER. The reduction of execution time, the reduction of environmental impact in the production and installation of PREFABRICATED MODULES allow a sure success in a city like New York. The modular architecture can guarantee the same quality, comfort and wellness than traditional construction methods without unnecessary sophistication and embellishment. The main features of our project are:

1) Fast production and installation.
The production in chain and in a controlled environment that allows to considerably reduce the time dedicated to construction and its assembly.
2) Design customization.

Modular architecture adapts perfectly to contemporary trends and allows infinite combinations and customization options. The different facades options make the structure unique.
3) Flexibility and adaptability.

The modular systems have a high degree of versatility, Thanks to their characteristics it is possible to connect the modules together to enlarge them, depending on the space requirements and the available useful surface.
4) Cost optimization.

The prefabricated modules can also be transferred and reused, which allows the initial investment to be amortized and resources to be optimized.

5) Sustainability.

Modular constructions guarantee respect for the environment through the selection of materials and construction techniques and the construction with low polluting impact. Production in controlled environments reduces waste volume, dust emissions and noise pollution levels.
6) Resistance.

Prefabricated modules, despite their adaptability, are specially designed to withstand the effects of the use and climate very differently in all seasons of New York. The main structure of the hypothesized modules is in wood to which is coupled VIROC (concrete + wood) as a coating, an extremely flexible material whose main features are: non-toxicity, acoustic insulation, high resistance to loads, fireproof, waterrepellent, thermal insulation and resistant to insects. Each module functions together with the other modules as a single body that is thought to have a positive energy consumption for the city of New York: thanks to clean energy production systems, reuse of rainwater for drains, cooling / heating combined with geothermal energy and high thermal insulation of the walls the whole building will have a consumption equal to 0.