Jury feedback summary
The second place proposal stands out for its successful implementation of modular units to create a morphological housing strategy. Drawing from Le Corbusier’s unit type for the Unité d'Habitation, the second place proposal employs an L-shaped housing unit, both in plan and section, to create a variety of massing arrangements. Rather than proposing a dense housing block of modular components, the combination achieves various organization and form uniquely weaving exterior space throughout. The courtyards developed between units break down traditional barriers between public and private in social housing, creating opportunities for public engagement between neighbors and the city at large. At the smallest scale of the Harlem site, units are organized to engage the street in a similar manner to the surrounding context while providing an additional layer of public engagement through voided balconies. At the scale of the UN site, a strategy of larger voids is introduced to maximize exterior surface for greater opportunities of daylight, cross unit engagement, and connection to the street. At the East River Site, the units are combined to reinforce a horizontal massing lifted on pilotis, allowing continued public use of the waterfront pier. The selection of three varied New York sites demonstrates how morphologically robust the modular unit is by adapting to sites of different scale, shape, and context.
Jury feedback summary
The success of the first place proposal for the New York Affordable Housing competition lies in its use of a few simple modular elements aggregated to create a heterogeneous whole which serves to generate new modes of interaction between the inhabitants, their neighbors, and the public. Three basic unitized forms - circle, square, and rectangle - each made up of a slab and four columns stack, rotate, collide, and aggregate to create different unit types. The associated cost of the formal relationship between units is offset by the basic post and slab construction system of precast concrete. A simple storefront glazing system mediates between the units and the exterior while wood cabinets enclose private spaces and bathrooms. These stackable “table tops” are also scaled and dimensioned to adapt to disparate site conditions, from a one unit wide walk-up, to a tower with setbacks of cascading balconies. Most importantly, the rotations and collisions create apertures in the slab between units which form a liminal realm that serves as both public circulation and communal courtyards. These spatial juxtapositions generate unique thresholds, serving as intimate spaces for prolonged or chance encounter reflecting an updated notion of the stoop or porch ideal in the age of distraction.