40 Unit Apartment Building in Brooklyn – PARKING FACILITIES

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 – BATHROOM THEMES

New Residential Development in Brooklyn – BATHROOM THEMES

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.

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New Residential Development in Brooklyn – RESIDENTIAL COMPONENT

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

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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The Ultimate Shared Living Suites – FOR DEVELOPERS

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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Best Townhouse Plan for New Construction – “‘8b’ – Shared Party-Wall Prototype”

Best Townhouse Plan for New Construction – “‘8b’ – Shared Party-Wall Prototype”

Building a townhouse from scratch has its advantages and results in a slightly different layout than the previous floor plans designed as retrofits into existing townhouses of varying sizes.  In new construction, typical FAR’s (Floor Area Ratio) allows for the length of the new structure on typical 100′ lots to be what it ideally wants to be.

In the this version we design the townhouse to have shared party-walls, thus giving the interior enough extra space that we can slightly shorten the building to 48′-4″, 1′-8″ less than the infill version in the next article.  This helps lower the cost of construction without sacrificing comfort, and provides a means to save ‘allowable square feet’ on every floor shift that savings to add an extra floor for a Great Room over looking a roof terrace.

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Analysis of Residential Stair Configurations for Townhouses

Analysis of Residential Stair Configurations for Townhouses

This is a very cut and dry analysis of four different stair configurations that could help generate an additional $54,000 in rental income from a 4 story townhouse type structure just by reconfiguring the stair, touched on in a previous article (which we would recommend reading).  The first option is the traditional townhouse stair, found in most townhouses in New York City.  Often this stair offers stunning architectural detail and should be preserved, but more often than not the original stair has been replaced with a metal stair, due to sagging or some other issue.  Sadly the replacements lack character and often do not fix the underlying issue to why they were sagging and are themselves sagging, causing stress fractures in party-walls at each end of the stair.

The advantages of replacing the stair are simple, it frees up square footage that can be used inside an apartment.  The following compares three different stairs, the traditional, the compact and the ‘extended landing’, and a new comer, the squarish stair which is the best option (< spoiler alert). It is noted as ‘Stair 8’ which reflects the number of versions we’ve studied to get to that point. This ‘best option 8’ is shown in the article ‘The Ultimate Townhouse Floor Plan’ released August 28, 2017, so take a look at that one as well.

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Helping Cities Grow: What to do.

Helping Cities Grow: What to do.

An important issue for many cities dealing with circumstances initiated by others in the past, like a blighted looking city filled with parking lot scars, etc. From my experience I’ve witnessed many cities do the wrong thing in order to encourage development. The point of this post is, if you do something, it could have a negative impact on your city, so make sure you do the right thing. Read more

The Future City, Our Future Life

Hastened by the rapid growth of humans on this earth, our needs far outpace our ability to think rationally about what is required by us and what is required by our earth. It must be understood that we can not just allow our cities to bleed out and merge with other urban areas indefinitely for a multitude of reasons, the loss of nature, the total inefficiency in first building and then maintaining such a beast, and the probable lack of quality housing which itself needs maintaining.

So if we set goals, perhaps we can address the real issues facing our society.

1) To build in such a way to allow infrastructure to be easily maintained, first by limiting how much infrastructure we build by building it ‘more efficient.’

2) To provide housing that in it’s core can be refurbished without extra effort, to ensure it’s bones serve future generations.

3) To preserve nature, both on the outskirts of urban areas but to incorporate it into those areas.

4) To build housing that serves all the needs of humans, of privacy versus public, of closed versus open, of fully functional while relaxing, interconnected while remaining unique an special in it’s place.

5) To create infrastructure that has built in a highly efficient transportation system for all things, goods, people, utilities, in such a way that they inherently can ensure weather and the elements that normally cause decay, and to do so in a way to encourage identity rather than ubiquitousness.

6) To reinforce hierarchy within our urban environments, to encourage pride and identity of one’s place, in order to help with it’s maintenance.

7) To create vehicular systems that allow quick transportation of all individuals without the need of individual vehicles, but to also offer the infrastructure to support vehicles that can be securely storage from criminal activity and weather, to help ‘ween off’ individuals from their dependency.

8) By removing vehicles from the street scape, to encourage nature scapes within all communities, to fully integrate nature and the urban environment in such a way that reinforces safety and beauty.

While there is always the danger of creating a ‘utopian idea’ that is doomed for failure, the notion that we shouldn’t think about how we plan for the future is pure folly and has obvious ramifications, like heavy taxes to afford maintenance of the monster, air and environmental pollution, horrible neighborhoods and housing, dangerous streets due to overcrowding of vehicles, etc.  There is a way to take what we know about urban living and infuse this with new concepts that both respect the human individual, the environment and the mechanism that is the city to create a balance that is truly functional and beautiful.  Why wouldn’t us humans try to achieve exactly this?

In future  posts, I will break this down with examples for each item, to begin to establish in concrete terms what it means to use efficiency to create a better more affordable world.