Modular Urban Housing

Our Client:  New York City Office of Emergency Management, FEMA

Partners:  AMSS & Garrison-Architects

Client:  New York City’s Office of Emergency Management and NYC Department of Design & Construction needed a method to quickly house people in urban environments following disasters such as a coastal superstorm or earthquake.  With a FEMA block grant, NYC OEM and NYC DDC awarded a design-build contract to Mark Line, Garrison-Architects, and American Manufactured Structures and Systems, to design and build a high-performance, healthy modular urban housing facilities that could be stacked to an urban density and remedied the quality issues that typically plague temporary housing.

Challenge:  The client needed a design which was fully accessible, could be deployed in various configurations to accommodate families of varying sizes, and would be designed for future de- / re-construction and permanent use as urban infill or supportive housing.  To prove the concept, the City engaged Mark Line to fabricate a prototype that would be installed in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn for a year while an occupancy study was conducted with NYU-Poly.

Solution:  The modular urban interim housing delivered by Mark Line features a high-performance rainscreen system with fungible panels that can be switched to match the character of surrounding neighborhoods.  A high-performance VRF HVAC system and EPA Watersense fixtures by Toto keep the energy demand of the building low.  The interior is comprised of healthy materials that do not off-gas volatile organic compounds.  Custom casework and storage was fabricated from phenolic faced 12-ply Russian birch with rapidly renewable cork plank floating floors.  Porcelain subway tile with aluminum trim accents the accessible restroom.  We created a single-bedroom “core” module which can be deployed on its own, or in collaboration with an “accessory” module featuring an additional two bedrooms.  Balconies and stair towers and ramps were also prefabricated as systems that quickly installed.

WINNER AIA-NY DESIGN MERIT AWARD.

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