Collection by William Lamb

Small Spaces, Big Ideas at Dwell on Design NY

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Exploring innovative design solutions for making the most of limited space in dense urban settings at Dwell on Design NY.

Designing living spaces in densely populated urban settings poses a particular set of challenges. Richard Garber and Nicole Robertson, principals at the Manhattan firm GRO Architects, joined the first annual Dwell on Design New York for “Small Spaces, Big Ideas,” a discussion about creative ways to make the most of a limited footprint. Examples from their portfolio include a cramped 600-square-foot Manhattan apartment that they recast as an open, inviting dwelling for a pair of graphic designers, and a concrete house with an open layout that they managed to squeeze into a 22-by-56-foot lot in Jersey City, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York’s Financial District. Garber and Roberston also detailed how they incorporate prefabricated elements in their designs to minimize cost, construction time, and waste, as they are preparing to do with an 88-unit micro-housing project near the Grove Street PATH station in downtown Jersey City.

An Eames Storage Unit helps to define distinct living and dining spaces.
The architects designed the bamboo-plywood storage compartments above the hallway, bathroom, and bedroom closet.
Garber and Robertson replaced walls and doors with translucent Panelite, which draws sunlight deep into the apartment.
Carpenter poses outside his house, which is shoehorned into a tiny nonconforming lot among a block’s worth of older row...
Eighteen insulated concrete panels, each a different size and shape, were trucked to the site and hoisted into place...
Carpenter spends a lot of time outside on his rear deck.
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