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12 Photos That Chart the Construction of NYC's First Modular Micro-Apartments

It’s no secret that rental prices in New York are amongst the highest in the world: Trying to find an affordable place to call home can feel like you are forever walking in the shoes of Ryan Nethery, creator of infamous Tumblr The Worst Room.

Now, local firm nArchitects have arrived with a potential solution. They won a hard-fought competition to design the city’s first micro-apartment complex, emerging victorious with their proposal for a block of pre-fabricated units ranging from 260 to 360 square feet in size.

Their project – entitled My Micro NY – is now coming to fruition, and The New York Times has released this insightful series of photographs charting the construction process in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Once complete, the apartments will be winched into place on a gap site in Brooklyn this spring.


The apartments are being fabricated at a huge plant in Brooklyn Navy Yard.


The elevator shaft, stairwell shaft and stairwell landings are all located in a single module on each floor.


Interior framing is welded during the early stages of fabrication.

In order for this architectural typology to be realized in one of the country’s most densely packed regions, city officials had to break away from the usual constraints: They have waived the current zoning and density rules stipulating that the footprint of apartments must be no less than 400 square feet.


Workers apply a water proof layer to a corner module.


Walls are assembled in a separate zone within the plant.


The frame of an interior wall is lifted into place.

The result is a modular apartment block of stacking units that evokes visions of Tokyo’s famed experiments in metabolic architecture, such as the endangered Nagakin Capsule Tower. Of course, the legacy of Nagakin is tempered by well-documented accounts of claustrophobia and poor living conditions by its residents — but nArchitects are hoping their generous ceiling heights, ample glazing, Juliet balconies and numerous shared amenities will provide adequate comfort for residents.


A worker applies joint compound to a drywall.


A glimpse of an apartment interior as drywalling is completed.


Welding window frames.

If you are hoping that these units could provide the answer to your perpetual hunt for an affordable apartment, you may be a little disappointed to hear the price: Rents will range from $2,000 to $3,000 per month. However, if you are holding out for a place to yourself in Brooklyn in 2015, these prices may be amongst the best you can hope for.


Glazed sliding doors are fitted in each apartment.


Plumbing is installed in the open interior walls of each module.


A rendering of the units being craned into place in Brooklyn.

They may be compact in the extreme, but these carefully composed units are unlikely to make an appearance on Ryan Nethery’s blog any time soon…

Yours compactly,

The Angry Architect