FAR, the floor area ratio, is determined by multiplying the area of a property by a number determined by the property’s zoning district. For instance a 20’x100′ property in a zoning district of R5 has a factor of 1.25 allowing for 2500 square feet of ‘habitable’ interior space.
The issue is what is considered habitable. FAR accounts for the gross built area including thicknesses of walls, suggesting that the very walls that help define the interior spaces are habitable. This results in something unfortunate, the attempt to make structural walls thinner resulting in larger interior spaces, which results in buildings that feel less sturdy by the increase in noise infiltration, vibration and other factors.
Continue reading “The problem with Zoning’s FAR”
This is a rather mundane study to illustrate one point, that by positioning utility lines in the optimum location, there is a significant savings of material, and thus of maintenance, resulting in cities that can better serve their residents needs. But positioning of utilities, like telephone, cable, water, sewer, gas, steam and electrical is only part of the puzzle in developing a new urban prototype that will not only accommodate more people in better urban environments, but do so with less cost for maintenance into the future.
Continue reading “Utility Study [part of ‘City for 50 million’ prototype]”
Using New York City as an example, we can examine the typical urban residential block. Part of a long and narrow grid it provides the basics for laying out residential and commercial districts and buildings. The American grid, with its ascending street numbers or letters, is an organizing approach meant to equalize, to account for expansion and to make navigation easy and efficient.
First we’ll look at a very early Sandborn Map surveyed as housing and other structures were filling in the blocks, analysis this in terms of road to lot ratio, housing disposition and it’s inherent pros/cons, and then explore a few property surveys to see some variations to the individual residential type in NYC.
Continue reading “Existing Urban Block and its Inherent Shortcomings”
It was a rough renovation of a dilapidated unplanned studio apartment, into a narrow but legal one bedroom rental apartment. This gut renovation had its twists and turns, but perseverance prevailed to complete this makeover, creating a warm and cozy one bedroom, one bath, full kitchen apartment.
Continue reading “Finished Manhattan Rental Apt Quickly Occupied”
We (SimpleTwig Architecture.llc) will show you the character, layout and thinking behind several different rental apartments (this is the second of several articles)
Continue reading “Apartment Rental Layout: Case Study 2”
This project we’re working on is large enough to break into two articles, the first dealing with the parking facilities. When designing for a large multi-story apartment building, one must provide for parking. There is an option of using off-site parking but essentially one needs to own the property and that property must be within a reasonable distance to your building. That said, like on this project, the parking must be incorporated into the basement space.
This is where good architects stand out in my opinion, in that if the structure is right, and aligns with the apartment units above, there is a substantial savings in the avoidance of transfer beams. This is our approach to help lessen the financial burden of providing a parking garage yet do so in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the apartment units on the upper floors, or the retail space.
Continue reading “40 Unit Apartment Building in Brooklyn – PARKING FACILITIES”
A followup on the Apartment Themes is our Bathroom Themes, together and combined in different ways creates an apartment building, condo or co-op that provides each tenant with a special and unique place they can call home.
Continue reading “New Residential Development in Brooklyn – BATHROOM THEMES”
While there is often repetition in apartment building design, we decide to change up the standard so that each apartment doesn’t become a boring clone of the next apartment. In fact, how boring is it to go to your apartment and know that your apartment is exactly the same as every other apartment on the floor and in the building?
It is quite ridiculous to design in this way, that cookie-cutter way. People who purchase their own home clearly want that home to reflect their own personality, be slightly unique and have a quality they can be proud of. So why is it that in large apartment buildings where it would be financially easy to mix things up a bit that it isn’t done. The answer is simple: Architects and Interior Designers are lazy and cheap. They know that if they specify a bathroom, picking out fixtures, surfaces and hardware that they can do this for 300 apartments, charge for 300 apartments yet only have to do the exercise once. Yet it really isn’t much effort for them to do this same exercise 10 or 20 times and alternate the style of the bathrooms unit to unit. Are they afraid that the contractor will get confused? Do they really think a blue tile versus a tan tile will cost more to install? Are they just too lazy to do the work or perhaps they just don’t care. Do you really want to hire someone who is lazy and doesn’t care?
We we’re betting on that it does matter to you which is why we launched SimpleTwig Architecture.llc, to provide developers and homeowners with the best thinking architect in the business. Really, the best thinking architect? Well I have been hired by countless famous architects around the world to do just that for their business, and have designed the projects that major developers, institutions and agencies have come to see built. Now you can skip the high costs of a larger firm and go directly to the source, the mind behind the design, to get the best considered from all aspects for your own project.
But lets get back to the special qualities of this one project in Brooklyn.
Continue reading “New Residential Development in Brooklyn – UNIQUE APARTMENTS”
A rather special apartment building design by SimpleTwig Architecture.llc, the concept focuses on making the most of the apartment quality, from the moment one steps off the elevator to the moment one sits down on their sofa, the design seeks to maximize living space while minimizing other spaces without compromising quality living.
This article explores the basic layout of the entire apartment floor plan level, which will be supplemented by images of the actual units tomorrow, since we have so much to share on this project. This article also corresponds to two additional articles, one on the parking facilities, and the other on the retail, garden and street level planning of the project. All together, this is how one should make a fully integrated project that makes the most of tenant spaces, provides the community with a special building and provides the owner with a building that is easy to build, maintain and sustain.
Continue reading “New Residential Development in Brooklyn – RESIDENTIAL COMPONENT”
We’re putting the final touches on a 40 unit residential project in Brooklyn. It is pretty special in that the project keeps part of an old theater facade and uses it to announce the retail component of the project, through awnings and little local vendors which can casually set up their wares below the awnings. The extra traffic and attention will be a boost for the anchor tenant who has a commanding view of this important residential corner.
This project is split into 3 articles, released the 8th of September, the 10th and the 12th.
Come on in and we’ll show you around…
Continue reading “New Residential Development in Brooklyn – RETAIL COMPONENT”