City announces finalists for Big Ideas for Small Lots design competition

Architects from across the globe submitted plans to build
affordable housing on oddly-sized lots

Architects and designers around the world submitted over 400
proposals to build affordable housing on small lots across the five
boroughs through the Big Ideas
for Small Lots NYC
competition, led by the NYC Department of
Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the American
Institute of Architects (AIANY)—and five of those designers, all
New York-based, have been selected as finalists.

As we
previously reported
, back in February, HPD and AIA charged
those participating with designing for lots as small as 663 square
feet and as narrow as 13 feet wide. These lots are
leftover spaces from developments
, or result from zoning
oddities, which make them often undesirable to private

“To unlock some of our most difficult-to-develop sites we
needed to take a fresh approach, and taking that leap has clearly
paid off,” HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll said in a

“Out of the hundreds of proposals that we received from teams
around the world, these five were unparalleled in their use of
innovative design to solve for the challenges that have left these
lots underutilized.”

The finalists were selected by a panel of nine jurors from a
variety of industries, including architecture, real estate
development, urban design, and public policy. The winning
submissions will be featured in a Fall 2019 exhibition at the
Center for Architecture.

“As a jury, we looked for inventive proposals that considered
the residents as well as the communities beyond—We discussed
design quality broadly, with a focus on technical feasibility,”
AIANY president and jury chair Hayes Slade, said in a statement.
“Accessibility, both physical and economic, was also an important

Here are the five finalists:

“Mass Green Living” by Anawan/101 + Kane AUD 

Anawan/101 + Kane AUD’s proposal features five units in a
5,900 square-foot building with a ground-level common area or
“urban garage” and was selected based on “its mix of unit
types, its adaptability, and the enhanced living experience for
residents through smart design features.”

“Greenfill House as Garden” by Michael Sorkin Studio

Michael Sorkin Studio’s proposal includes seven units in a
4,430-square-foot building with facade steps that create a terraced
effect. It was selected because of “its ability to provide
plentiful outdoor spaces that contribute to residents’
experience, its clever use of space, and its comprehensive use of
sustainable features to minimize the building’s environmental

“Fold and Stack” by OBJ

OBJ’s proposal features five units in a 5,540-square-foot
building with an interior courtyard, and it was selected for its
“intelligent use of modular construction, its successful use of
double-height spaces within a compact footprint to create a
vertical community, and its successful integration of design
techniques that address light and ventilation through an interior
courtyard that also encourages social interaction.”

“Only If” by Only If Architecture

Only If Architecture’s proposal includes seven units in a
4,900-square-foot building and it was chosen because of its “use
of innovative built-ins to produce compact yet functional appealing
spaces, its ability to provide seven units that range in size from
micro to two-bedrooms within a small footprint, its variable
façade treatments, and its ability to exemplify how intentional
design can elevate a traditional rowhouse in a familiar yet unique

“More with Less” by Palette Architecture

Palette Architecture’s proposal includes two units, one of
which is a co-living space with four “individual rooming
units,” in a 3,700-square-foot building; and it was selected
because of its “ability to provide a model for co-living that
demonstrates intelligent consolidation and organization of
different types of spaces, the way public and private spaces
intersect, and for serving as a good example of how a small lot can
accommodate modern housing trends.”

Source: FS – NYC Real Estate
City announces finalists for Big Ideas for Small Lots design competition