Social adaptability ​By Chelsea Peniston, Chesney Fries, Rafaela Noboa & Victoria Ziegler

Social adaptability

​​By Chelsea Peniston, Chesney Fries, Rafaela Noboa & Victoria Ziegler

The Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York was chosen as the location for our site because of its many social resources, nightlife, and culture. This area has a high population density of about 82,500 people per square mile, and is in need of a solution to meet increased housing needs.

Based off of a research analysis of the demographics of the area, there is an increasing number of young professionals who move to the Lower East Side because of its bustling night life, culture, and affordability for living based off of lower rent rates as compared to New York as a whole. 

The site location chosen was the Aaron Streit Matzo factory building in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. It is a 47,000 square foot building and is a surviving piece of the Lower East Side’s Jewish heritage. It is currently under threat of demolition with plans in place to build luxury mixed use condominiums in its place. 

In our design proposal, we plan to re-purpose the existing matzo factory as a gallery for the community. The program will include a café, a museum that celebrates the history of the factory, personal studio spaces, and open gallery spaces for displaying art. Because the Lower East Side is rich in culture and the arts, we wanted to create a space for creativity to flourish.

With the rich history of the factory and surrounding context, the social resources that surround the selected site, and the large demographic of young professionals that are attracted to this area, our concept is based off of a housing solution that integrates community public space as a means for social interaction for the individuals that live there. Our mixed-use proposal integrates the old with the new and emphasizes community space and art “as a way of living.” 

In order to build housing in a fast and affordable manner, our design implements a simple grid structure using the Kerto LVL material. Using an exposed post and beam system that supports each floor, beams sit on top of columns and connect in a simplistic and elegant way.

The housing units or “modules” are prototypical on each floor. The modules fit within the structure and are arranged in such a way that they surround around a centralized community and circulation core. Community space is left completely open and is user defined by the occupants. Balconies provide public and private outdoor space for users, and curtain walls allow natural light to fill the space. The design allows for social interaction within each space, private or public. ​


City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs