100 Norfolk, by ODA:
Autonomous, profit-driven, and constrained by thorough regulations, Manhattan blocks can reveal unexpected urban possibilities.
On 100 Norfolk, an inner lot was meant to host a through-building, 70 feet away from the corner with Delancey St. In a fluid give and take between the governing rules and development ambitions, 100 Norfolk takes the typical building model and flips it on its head, creating a new relationship in the New York development parameters.
Rather than growing vertically, 100 Norfolk grows diagonally, enjoying increments of area every two floors. Studying the adjacent properties revealed 11,000 square feet of available air rights that could be incorporated to the development. This redistribution of area had to happen under a strict zoning height limitation, forcing the volume to exploit its cantilevering potential. This maximized the area towards the top of the building and in consequence improved its efficiency. Sixty percent of the floor area at 100 Norfolk is located above the middle floor. The massing configuration increases the building’s roof area, generating a top floor that boasts double the footprint of the ground floor. In addition, one of the roofs of the merged properties is integrated as an amenity terrace (2,000 SF).
While the cantilevers followed an efficiency logic, the concession of the light and air easement readdressed what was meant to be a naked party wall to the main façade of the building. Now the building turns as it grows, it is accessed from Norfolk Street, the elevator core is pushed far from Delancey’s front and the apartments surround it in a 180-degree setup. The building direct translation of the reversed massing diagram is accomplished through a system of exposed structural trusses. This unconventional morphology is celebrated on the building skin, making it a form of identity and value.
The building’s cantilevered form and achieved openness, freezes an urban moment on the corner of Norfolk and Delancey. Through the advantageous utilization of building code and air-rights, 100 Norfolk grows from an interior lot building, to a corner lot icon.
This and other stories about the realities architecture faces in the evolving landscape of New York can be found in ODA’s first book, ‘Unboxing New York’
Gross SF: 50,000 SF
Amenities: 670 SF Gym + Terrace Lounge
Outdoor Private: 3,800 SF
Outdoor Semipublic: 4,000 SF
Number of Units: 38
Completion: April 2018
120 Wall St, by Buchman & Kahn, the archetypical New York wedding-cake tower consequence of the 1916 zoning resolution. In 100 Norfolk zoning and developing combine to turn the scheme upside down.
All images and video by: Miguel de Guzman / Imagen Subliminal
Drone pilot: Gilbert Santana
Diagrams by: ODA
Music in video by: Peter Gresser
We design “As of Right” buildings. We are not looking to create monuments but to divert the perspective of dwelling and over time influence the city. Our immediate context has a powerful impact on our wellbeing and we have the power to shape that context. We design our city while our city designs us back. As Steven Johnson said “our thoughts shape the spaces that we inhabit and our spaces return the favor”.
The power of the NYC architect is continuously reduced to the surface of things as buildings are dominated by numerous rules and regulations. Consequently, architecture becomes less about the fundamental qualities of living and more about the iconic expression. At ODA we always strive to rearrange these priorities and put people first. We strive to crack the surface and explode the content allowing more interaction and more surprises.
Jane Jacobs’ dream of life on the intimate scale of Greenwich Village’s streets is fading as population density increases and forces us to build vertically. ODA is in search of the best practices to develop a new paradigm that infects vertical living with the human and social qualities of the low scale housing formulas. We believe that our quality of life need not be compromised for the privilege of being in NYC.
The future is now, and is expected to be influenced by primal truths. The extensive study and decoding of the human body brought the revolution against the industrialized and a desire to return to nature through technology. Our designs are meditating this condition envisioning spaces that satisfy 3 human needs: the desire to observe wide perspectives and reach beyond boundaries, the need for protection and intimacy and the beauty of transition between in and out.
At ODA we cater for these ideas through a transitional territory we call “the vertical village”. By exploding the traditional NYC block, we find voids, gaps and open spaces that are shared by their communities and create accessible private and public spaces where social life is generated and the relationship with nature reinstated. Most of our buildings have greater usable outdoor space than the building’s footprint, apartments have more perimeter wall per sf than the average and spaces are not shy to look at each other. We call it “unboxing NYC”.
We work within the system to exploit the system. We utilize its nuisances to create value which by its nature can be replicated again in another form. We believe in the synergy between architect and client and the inclusion of as many parameters as possible. Our studio is a horizontal plane, we all share the same space and all opinions are heard. We design from the inside out developing form driven by the relationships between people and their activities. Our buildings look different because they each function differently.