Existing Urban Block and its Inherent Shortcomings

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.

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40 Unit Apartment Building in Brooklyn – PARKING FACILITIES

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.

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New Residential Development in Brooklyn – UNIQUE APARTMENTS

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.

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New Residential Development in Brooklyn – RESIDENTIAL COMPONENT

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.

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New Residential Development in Brooklyn – RETAIL 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…

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Owner Occupied Duplex – On the Top or Bottom?

There are many advantages for a townhouse owner to occupy a lower duplex, or perhaps it is the top floor duplex they should seek, and while a very strong case can be made to put the owner of a townhouse on the lower floors, there are solid arguments for occupying the top two floors.  I, architect Nick Buccalo, will examine both possibilities and invite your comments on the issue.

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The Ultimate Shared Living Suites – FOR DEVELOPERS

This version is for the smaller walkup building of 25’x60′ in order to fit the programmatic components comfortably. It provides a way for a developer to accommodate more people within a building footprint and thus increase the yearly income.

The concept is simple, take what would normally be a three bedroom apartment and change it to 4 shared living suites where individuals get their own private suite, complete with a private bathroom, bedroom and living space, and then share only the kitchen and other building amenities.  For a 5 story walkup, the potential is for 19 ‘bedroom suites’ versus the conventional 5-3 bedroom apartments.  It is simple math from this point to understand that the suites are occupied with working adults while 2/3’s of the bedrooms from a standard apartment are occupied by children, or, that home office.

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