For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Contact: General HPD Press Contact,


City Selects Five Finalists in Competition to Design NYC’s Most Challenging Sites

HPD partnered with American Institute of Architects New York to launch Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC, a design competition to create affordable housing on some of the City’s most difficult-to-develop lots

More than 400 submissions were received from top designers and architects around the world


NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) announced today the selection of five New York City-based firms that will advance to the final stage of the Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC design competition. The competition, which launched in February 2019, invited architects and designers from around the globe to submit proposals that addressed challenges of developing high-quality affordable housing on small, irregular lots throughout the city. The five finalists’ designs rose to the top of the 444 proposals from 36 countries across five continents that HPD received over the two-month submission period.

“The urgency of the affordability crisis requires us to continually push the envelope to meet our city’s diverse housing needs.  To unlock some of our most difficult-to-develop sites we needed to take a fresh approach, and taking that leap has clearly paid off,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “Out of the hundreds of proposals that we received from teams around the world, these five were unparalleled in their use of innovative design to solve for the challenges that have left these lots underutilized. Thanks to Deputy Commissioner Leila Bozorg and the team at HPD for spearheading this effort, our partners at AIA New York and the jury members for their support, and congratulations to the finalists for their excellent proposals.”

“As a jury, we looked for inventive proposals that considered the residents as well as the communities beyond. We discussed design quality broadly, with a focus on technical feasibility. Accessibility, both physical and economic, was also an important consideration,” said AIANY 2019 President and jury chair Hayes Slade, AIA. “The impact of the selected proposals will stretch far beyond the individual lots specified by the competition. Despite their small footprint, their ripple effect on the immediate block, neighborhood, and city will be outsized. This is before we consider the influence they will have through publication and study.  These projects will become influential case studies for small lots in New York and other urban areas.”

The competition is part of the Mayor’s accelerated Housing New York 2.0 plan, and furthers the City’s efforts to unlock difficult-to-develop sites for new housing. By engaging the architectural and design community as critical partners in the development of affordable housing, HPD hopes to demonstrate feasible, replicable housing solutions across various site and neighborhood conditions and promote excellence in urban infill design.  

The winning proposals for Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC were selected by a panel of nine jurors—all leaders in the fields of architecture, urban design, real estate development, and public policy—and evaluated on their design, replicability, and construction feasibility.

AIA New York will curate an exhibition at the Center for Architecture highlighting the winning submissions that will open on August 1st and be on display through the Fall of 2019.

THE FINALISTS: (In alphabetical order by architect)

Anawan/101 + Kane AUD

“Mass Green Living” by Anawan/101 + Kane AUD

The Design:

“Mass Green Living” features five units in an approximately 5,900 square-foot building that includes a multi-use, ground-level common area referred to as the “urban garage.” The submission was selected based on its mix of unit types, its adaptability, and the enhanced living experience for residents through smart design features.

The Architect:

The proposal is a collaboration between the principals of two architecture firms: Jeremiah Joseph of Anawan/101 and Ted Kane of Kane AUD. Anawan/101 is a one-person, New York City-based firm with more than 20 years of experience working on a variety of new construction projects from initial design phase through completed construction. Kane AUD is a design-oriented practice with a focus on design and construction. Kane has more than 15 years of experience and is professionally licensed in New York and California.

“We want to show how affordable housing can provide better, healthier spaces for living and build ideas of community,” said Jeremiah Joseph of Anawan/101. “Our idea of the Urban Garage creates an extension of each apartment into shared areas, combining and elevating everyday uses with more dynamic social gatherings, making a place where everyone is included, and everyone shares.”

Michael Sorkin Studio

“Greenfill House as Garden” by Michael Sorkin Studio

The Design:

“Greenfill House as Garden” has seven units in an approximately 4,430 square-foot building. The proposal’s façade steps back at every level, creating a terraced effect. The submission was selected based on its ability to provide plentiful outdoor spaces that contribute to residents’ experience, its clever use of space, and its comprehensive use of sustainable features to minimize the building’s environmental footprint.      

The Architect:

Michael Sorkin Studio is a New York City-based global design practice that specializes in both urbanism and green architecture. Since 2000, Sorkin has been a Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at City College of New York. The studio has been the recipient of numerous design awards. Recent projects include a master plan for a new environmental research park in Wuhan, China as well as a 1,000-unit resort in Coffs Harbor, Australia.

“’House As Garden’ investigates from scratch a typical situation in New York: the evolution of the row house into a multiple dwelling, a conversion full of problems. Our proposal offers the most advanced – Net Zero – environmental performance, a habitat for new and shared life-styles, greatly enhanced daylighting, new and economical construction techniques and materials, and active community involvement – via employment and training – in filling these waiting gaps in the fabric of the city,” said Principal and Founder of Michael Sorkin Studio, Michael Sorkin.


“Fold and Stack” by OBJ

The Design:

“Fold and Stack” features five units in an approximately 5,540 square-foot building organized around an interior courtyard. The submission was selected based on the design’s intelligent use of modular construction, its successful use of double-height spaces within a compact footprint to create a vertical community, and its successful integration of design techniques that address light and ventilation through an interior courtyard that also encourages social interaction.

The Architect:

OBJ is a collection of four architects that currently work for Diller, Scofidio, and Renfro in New York City and Olson Kundig in Seattle, Washington. The team members have a combined 25 years of experience working on a variety of projects internationally, including the recently constructed The Shed in Hudson Yards and other residential projects throughout the city.

“We’re excited to be participating in the future of NYC housing,” said Partner at OBJ Merica May Jensen. “As New Yorkers, we asked ourselves, ‘what do you do when you have limited space?’ You fold and stack! The double-height ‘stacked’ unit is easy to reconfigure on a variety of sites – meaning the small lots are no longer design obstacles, but design opportunities.” 

Only If

“System for Narrow Living” by Only If Architecture

The Design:

“Only If” features seven units in an approximately 4,900 square-foot building. The submission was selected based on its use of innovative built-ins to produce compact yet functional appealing spaces, its ability to provide seven units that range in size from micro to two-bedrooms within a small footprint, its variable façade treatments, and its ability to exemplify how intentional design can elevate a traditional rowhouse in a familiar yet unique manner.

The Architect:

“Only If” is a New York City-based design practice for architecture and urbanism founded in 2013 and led by Adam Snow Frampton, AIA, and Karolina Czeczek. The firm’s projects span a range of different types and scales, from interior design to residential new construction and research. The firm has exhibited in the Shenzhen Biennale in 2017 and has received various awards and citations.

“For the past several years we’ve been examining the specific and cumulative potential for housing on New York City’s irregular, narrow, and leftover land, both through our exhibited research, but also through a 13’-4” wide house now under construction in Brooklyn. Our proposal draws on this expertise and, to ensure its feasibility, strategically avoids the infrastructure of larger buildings. We are excited the city has initiated this project and thrilled to work on the next phase,” said Principal of Only If Adam Frampton, AIA.

Palette Architecture

“More with Less” by Palette Architecture

The Design:

“More with Less” is a 3,700 square-foot building that features two units, one of which is a co-living space with four individual rooming units. The submission was selected based on its ability to provide a model for co-living that demonstrates intelligent consolidation and organization of different types of spaces, the way public and private spaces intersect, and for serving as a good example of how a small lot can accommodate modern housing trends.

The Architect:

Palette Architecture is a full-service, New York City-based design and architecture practice founded in 2010 with 11 employees. Their work ranges from small-scale new construction residential projects to fit-out and interior design of non-profit office spaces.

“Our proposal seeks to economically house residents in contextually scaled developments. By promoting shared resources and flexible spaces, we strengthen community, maximize the number of residents we can serve, and minimize construction costs. The result is an alternate form of living that can help the city address the ongoing need for housing,” said Partner at Palette Architecture Peter Miller.

The five finalist teams will work with HPD to convert their winning designs into an affordable housing development proposal to be reviewed and approved by the agency. HPD will facilitate a series of workshops, networking opportunities, and other tools to assist the teams in developing their proposals.

Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC is made possible with the support from sponsors, Resource Furniture, Xenolith Partners, and Mega Contracting Group. For more information, visit


The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026.  For full details visit and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.

About AIA New York
Founded in 1857, AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Chapter's members include 5,500 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design. AIA New York is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach, and professional development.

About Resource Furniture
Resource Furniture is North America’s original, largest and most comprehensive source for cutting-edge, space-saving, and space-transforming living solutions. With more than 18 years of experience working with consumers, architects, builders, developers, and real estate professionals, Resource Furniture brings a unique and unparalleled perspective to every project. With eight showrooms in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Resource Furniture continues to redefine the industry, offering products that transform any space with both form and function.