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Size Matters

For MyMicro NY our latest modular project, size really does matter.  See what the experts have to say in this article.

Does size matter?

Architects are trying to convince New Yorkers that tiny apartments are the next big thing

April 28, 2015 01:35PM
By Konrad Putzier

Micro

Ask any New Yorker about their biggest grievances, and living in a shoebox will likely be near the top of the list. Young Manhattanites tend to talk about their space-starved living situations much like one’s grandparents talk about the war – all despair and deprivation.

But here’s a thought: what if smaller apartments actually make for better living?

At a panel hosted by the American Institute of Architects’ New York chapter Monday night, three young architects tried to make the case that micro-apartments are not just a possible solution to New York’s affordability crisis, but also fun to live in.

“For people coming fresh to the city, the first thing has always been to find a roommate and move to Bushwick,” said Michael Kim, an architect at ARExA. “But here you’re looking at market-rate units that are located in the city and offer very comfortable living and basic common spaces.”

The trick, according to the panelists, is to design micro-apartments in a way that makes them “as humane as possible.” Eric Bunge’s firm nARCHITECTS designed Monadnock Development’s 55-unit micro-apartment building My Micro NY, which is under construction at 335 East 27th Street in Kips Bay. The units average 286 square feet, but come with 10-foot ceilings and large windows in an attempt to make them feel less stuffy. “These units can actually feel very spacious,” Bunge said.

A 240-square-foot micro-apartment (Credit: Tim Seggerman)

Perhaps more important to the livability of micro units is common space, according to the panelists. Michael Kim took Brooklyn’s brownstone stoops as an inspiration for the corridors in a micro-unit building he is designing. They will offer space to sit and hang out with neighbors. And while some may consider common kitchens a nuisance, Kim believes they are actually a fun place to meet people.

The panelists insisted this kind of shared living holds appeal in the age of Zipcar and Citibike. “The micro-unit definitely lends itself to a specific population where sharing is actually a social and communal benefit,” said Miriam Peterson, a partner at Peterson Rich Office.

Still, they acknowledged that more communal space could also create its own problems. One is safety. “Something we’ve encountered time and again with our NYCHA work is how potentially dangerous shared space is,” said Peterson. “Who has ownership over them and what are the views within a population to actually share things?”

A member of the audience took the point further, asking if shared living might imperil diversity within buildings, as people tend to prefer sharing spaces with people that are like them. No one seemed to have an answer, although ARExA’s Kim suggested that “maybe ultimately there needs to be someone who oversees the schedule” for common spaces.

In the end, the panel left listeners with a sense that micro living may be the future, but that a cultural shift is needed for it to really take off. Comparing New York to denser cities like Tokyo, Eric Bunge said, “we have a different kind of DNA in terms of how much space we need. But this is something that eventually has to change.”

http://therealdeal.com/blog/2015/04/28/does-size-matter/

Latest Project by Capsys

Our Micro-Apartment project MyMicroNY is soon to be a reality.  We’d like to thank Ondel Hylton for the following article describing

 

City’s First Micro-Apartment Project ‘MY Micro NY’ Ready for Stacking

 

POSTED ON TUE, APRIL 21, 2015BY IN ARCHITECTUREGRAMERCY PARKNEW DEVELOPMENTSRENTALS

 

335 EAST 25TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES

Just in time for Earth Day, New York’s first micro-unit apartment building, dubbed My Micro NY, is entering its final construction phase. When finished later this year, urbanites will have a chance to live within the center of the city in a brand new building flush with amenities, all for under $3,000. Developed byMonadnock Development and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the soon-to-be-nine-story structure wrapped up foundation work this past winter, and a one-story steel platform is ready to receive 55 modular units.

The units are currently being built off-site at the Brooklyn Navy Yard by a team of 50 workers. In late May, the units will be shipped to the Gramercy Park lot at 335 East 27th Street where they will be stacked and bolted together along with stairs, an elevator, and other shared spaces.

NYCHPD, Monadnock, My Micro NY, Micro-Apartments, Earth Day, nArchitects, modular construction

Responding to smaller household sizes and the city’s enormous demand for housing units, the My Micro NY pilot program was spearheaded by former mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2012 as a pilot towards adjusting the city’s building codes to allow smaller units. The city’s minimum legal apartment size is 400 square feet, while studios at My Micro NY will range from 260 to 360 square feet. It’s also seen as a way to reduce one’s carbon footprint.

NYCHPD, Monadnock, My Micro NY, Micro-Apartments, Earth Day, nArchitects, modular construction

Micro-apartment supporters say that the success of small living quarters relies on intelligent design and proximity to social venues. My Micro NY’s designers, Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS, simulate spaciousness with 9-foot-8-inch floor-to-ceiling heights and Juliet balconies with laminated glass guardrails to optimize natural lighting. There will be ample storage lofts and full-depth closets. Kitchens will include a fold-down table/counter, full-height pull-out pantry, full-size fridge, a range, and room for a convection microwave. Building amenities will include a gym, small lounge, community room, shared roof terrace, bicycle and tenant storage, and an outdoor garden.

MyMicroNYC Gramercy Micro-Apartments, Bloomberg, Earth Day 2 (8)
Renderings courtesy of nARCHITECTS

Not only innovative for its cozy layouts, the $17 million, 35,000-square-foot project will only be the city’s second prefabricated apartment building, after the Stack in Inwood; and it will be the city’s largest until Pacific Park’s (Atlantic Yards) 461 Dean Street debuts next year. The project developer, Tobias Oriwol, toldAMNewYork that units will be priced at approximately $3,000 a month and twenty-two of the 55 homes will be designated affordable​ for low- and middle-income households.

335 East 27th Street, MY Micro NY, NYC micro apartments
Aerial view of the site via CityRealty

Follow updates for My Micro NY at CityRealty

Reporting contributed by Heather Cooper Vivares

 

http://www.6sqft.com/citys-first-micro-apartment-project-my-micro-ny-ready-for-stacking/

Home Shrunken Home

Hold your stomach in! Mini-apartments may be one way to solve New York’s housing shortage.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/realestate/micro-apartments-tiny-homes-prefabricated-in-brooklyn.html?_r=0#

 

 

The “Other” Huge Modular Project in Brooklyn

Our friends at Modular Home Builder an industry blog run by our friends at www.modularhomecoach.com ran the following article the other day about our on-going Nehemiah Spring Creek housing project.  We are proud of our almost 20 year affiliation with Nehemiah and Monadnock Construction the GC of the project.  Capsys has provided hundreds of high-quality family houses and apartments to the Nehemiah Organization since 1996.  This article describes our current project and contains a neat Spring Creek neighborhood drive-through video at the end.  Our thanks the Mod Coach for the posting.

MODULAR HOME BUILDER

The leading blog for the modular home industry.

 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Brooklyn’s Other Huge Modular Project on Schedule

Capsys Corp is currently finishing up the first grouping of homes for the next phase of Nehemiah’s Spring Creek project located on a former 45 acre former landfill site east of Brooklyn, NY.
Built in partnership with East Brooklyn Congregations and designed by architect Alexander Gorlin, Nehemiah is composed of prefabricated one-, two- and three-family homes assembled at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Homeowners put down as little as $8,000 to purchase their houses, which ranged in price from $158,000 to $488,000.
When completed by 2016, over 1,525 new homes and apartments will be built on these streets tucked in behind Related Companies Gateway Plaza Mall, Belt Parkway, and two state parks opening by 2014. In September, three new schools will open on a $75 million campus constructed by the Department of Education.
Spring Creek Nehemiah (as residents call it) will be home to 233 first-time homeowners who won the right to live at Nehemiah in a lottery sponsored by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, a major partner in the project. They applied to the lottery more than five years ago, some as many as 17 years back. Soon, 50 new owners will move in. Five parks, a supermarket and EMS station will be finished upon plan completion.
Nehemiah Spring Creek 1 Nehemiah Spring Creek 2
These prefabricated townhouses are part of the Nehemiah program to build the largest affordable housing development for first-time homebuyers in New York City. More than 800 homes are planned around a vibrant community-oriented streetscape and neighborhood.
The first two phases and phase 3B, approximately 287 of 578 townhouses, are now complete with phase 3A under construction. Individual modular units are constructed in a nearby factory and trucked to the site where they are then joined together into two-, three- and four-story houses.  To create visual interest and distinct identities, multiple facade types were designed, each of which can be clad in one of a dozen different colors of siding. A modern interpretation of traditional Brooklyn townhouses, stoops line the street leading to a raised front door. Parking is along rear alleys in the interior of each block, allowing the homes to open directly onto the sidewalk.

More Nehemiah Spring Creek Homes Are On The Way

We are currently finishing up the first grouping of homes for the next phase of Nehemiah’s Spring Creek project.  The attached is an informative piece describing the continuing Spring Creek housing project as it appears at the website of the Project Architect Alexander Gorlin.

http://gorlinarchitects.com/projects/nehemiah-spring-creek

Concern Amityville Veteran’s Housing, Amityville, NY

Concern Amityville

The Epoch Times has published a feature focused on Modular Construction in New York

The buzz around Modular construction in New York just keep growing. We were happy to discuss our 18 years of NY modular construction history with the Epoch Times recently and we thought you might like to read the resulting article.

 

Modular Construction Takes Off in New York
Atlantic Yards prefabs aiming for a luxury look, My Micro NY set to begin this year in Kips Bay
By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times | February 1, 2014 Last Updated: January 31, 2014 10:19 am

100308_capsys_0266-718x1024

NEW YORK—Modular building and prefabrication have been gaining attention in recent years, largely because of high-profile projects and micro-unit housing rolling out in major cities like New York and San Francisco.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported the modular concept with his adAPT NYC micro-housing competition last year, allowing for smaller than ever units to be built in the city. Construction of nARCHITECTS’ winning design for My Micro NY, at 335 East 27th St., in Kips Bay, will begin this year. Also, after 10 years in the works, the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn has finally started stacking modules.

Brooks McDaniel with SHoP Architects is project architect for the first modular residential tower at Atlantic Yards. “Since modular is so new to New York, we had to kind of reinvent the wheel,” said Brooks. “Once we got over the engineering hurdles it was like designing any other [project].”

Modular is hardly new, but the Atlantic Yards project is trying to create a luxury look using prefabricated modules.

The challenge was to not have “modular look like modular,” with this particular project, McDaniel said.

Catch-22
My Micro NY, with units a mere 325-square feet–previously a prohibited size for the city, will build units that are completely self-supporting. Capsys, the company prefabricating the modules, has been in the Brooklyn Navy Yard for 18 years.

There are obvious economic and sustainability benefits when it comes to building modular, but the reason modular hasn’t been more popular is a catch-22, said Tom O’Hara, a director at Capsys, who has been working with modular building for 30 years.

Conventional construction is a “design-bid-build” product whereas modular is a “design-build” product, so the developer really needs to be planning for modular from the very beginning. The catch is that there aren’t many modular designer-builders to begin with.

“If you put out a plan to build modularly, there aren’t a lot of people who can respond,” O’Hara said. “And so developers worry about whether they’re getting a competitive price.”

Still, much of Capsys’s work includes educating architects and developers on the capabilities of modular construction, which O’Hara said they are very receptive to.

Height Limitations
Height poses another perceived challenge. Atlantic Yards’ B2, its first residential tower of a planned 15, is set to be the world’s tallest modular structure at 32 stories, but is not free standing. The misconception is that above a certain height, the developer no longer saves money by using prefabrication.

“It’s not a cost issue, it’s an engineering issue,” O’Hara said.

Modular factories are built to produce a very specific product. Capsys, for instance, designed its factory to be cost competitive in delivering buildings up to 13 feet.

“And we could very easily have done a different system for a different type of modular,” O’Hara said. “We’ve built everything from two story townhouses to ten story buildings. But there are still some parameters there that we’ve designed into our system.”

Speedy Timeline
For some projects, there are very compelling reasons to go modular—for some, there just aren’t.

Construction quality and LEED certification are the basics, O’Hara said, but one example of an added bonus is timeline.

Prefabrication saves time and, more importantly, is able to deliver exactly on a specific opening date, which could be crucial to buildings like student dormitories or event housing.

With My Micro NY, for instance, fabrication will start about the same time the general contractor breaks ground. The first module will take about two weeks to go through the assembly line, O’Hara said, and after that one or two modules will come off the line every day.

“The project is around 60 modules so it really only takes a few weeks to build them all,” O’Hara said. “We’ll probably be able to build the modules faster than they can build the foundation.”

 

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/481474-modular-construction-takes-off-in-new-york/

The Capsys Micro-Unit Apartment project has drawn international attention

Two weeks ago we hosted a production team and film crew from FranceTV 2 for a tour of our manufacturing facility.  They were visiting NYC to report upon the growing global interest in smaller apartments for dense urban areas.  Our upcoming project “MyMicro NY” is a local response to this growing trend.

We thought we’d share the film with you – and we hope you are fluent in French!

We Have Reached a New Milestone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are excited to announce that Capsys has built a total of:

1,424  buildings

2,279  modules

2,571,489  modular square feet

We want to Thank Everyone who helped us to accomplish this!

City Council Tour

On a fact-finding tour of Capsys, members of the city council learn about modular construction in New York City at Capsys, the only modular manufacturer operating in New York City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured are:

Elizabeth Crowley, Councilmember

Nick Lembo, President of Capsys Corp.

Erik Martin Dilan, Councilmember

Tom O’Hara, Business Development at Capsys Corp.

Gale A. Brewer, Councilmember

Jumaane D. Williams, Councilmember

 

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