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dwell grand street lower east side nyc

in collaboration with DSR
density and diversity
The Lower East Side of New York was at one time the most densely populated urban area in the world. The residue of a massive immigrant influx can be found in the dense, brick-faced walk-up tenements that dot the neighborhood. as the founding populations have decamped, the Lower East Side has attracted diverse residents who are now being housed in more expansive ways in converted tenements and new construction.

brick city
The old brickwork of the quickly and cheaply made tenements has become recognized as a defining characteristic of the neighborhood. it remains the material of choice for new construction. the tight street grid is now appreciated as an intimate, pedestrian scaled neighborhood reflecting the highest aspirations of new urbanism. thriving and diverse commercial activity has sealed the deal: the Lower East Side is a model of the future of New York City.

perpetual renewal
new building in the neighborhood continues to keep the Lower East Side relevant, economically diverse, and socially progressive. a development model using contextually sensitive yet ultra contemporary architecture promises to uphold and update the most salient physical features of the neighborhood. moderate-cost, high-design dwelling units will provide housing for New York’s burgeoning creative class, the current round of immigrants flooding the city.

318 grand street
318 Grand Street is an atypical lot for the Lower East Side. With three street frontages and a wide and deep footprint, it offers tremendous opportunity to incorporate views, light, air and outdoor space—attributes in short supply in the neighborhood. this study presents two options for development on this site, the principles of which may inform other properties on the Lower East Side. both options propose apartments with ample light, views and outdoor connections. they will be simply appointed, with well-conceived but flexible plans. materials and construction are of the highest European quality, designed to last a hundred years. both options propose a thorough investigation of brick as a building material. explorations might include utilizing adhesive bonding, robotic brick laying and pre-assembled panelized brick construction.

scheme 01 ”box”
The ‘Box’ scheme maintains the consistent street frontage of the neighborhood. The design proposes filling out the site in the most efficient and compact manner possible, echoing efficiencies that guided the design of the old tenement buildings. single paned window openings are generous and detailed with wood sash frames, a rarity in Manhattan. acknowledging the dearth of outdoor space in the area, each apartment is outfitted with a room-wide, floor to ceiling rolling window. during temperate seasons, residents may slide the window aside to transform their living rooms into ‘outdoor’ spaces, simultaneously reducing energy consumption.

scheme 02 “bay”
the ‘Bay’ scheme takes advantage of the additional buildable volume available on the site. Simplex and Duplex apartments are articulated into ‘row houses’, stacked and offset. the resulting open space between the units becomes usable outdoor space for each adjacent unit. all units contain either corner windows or a three-sided room-sized bay window. Half of the units have one or two terraces open to the sky and accessed from the corner window.