Making Room Museum 1 In space-starved New York, compact homes aren’t going away anytime soon: as the mayor’s office announced that Monadnock Development will build Manhattan’s first micro-unit apartments, a new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York focuses on tiny living.

“Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers,” which opened Wednesday, displays renderings and models of solutions for the city’s housing challenges. The highlight of the show is a full-scale model of a 325-square-foot apartment designed by Amie Gross Architects. The L-shaped layout follows all city regulations except for the current minimum unit size of 400 square feet for all new apartments. The transformations included a Murphy bed that folds out right on top of the sofa, a television panel that slides to reveal drawers, an ottoman that hides four metal-frame seats and a wooden chair that converts into a step-ladder for those hard-to-reach areas.

One of the tricks Amie Gross used to make the apartment more spacious? The ceiling in the living room is roughly a foot higher than the ceiling in the entryway, giving visitors the impression of airiness once they step in . In addition, the cooking, eating and sleeping areas remain distinct. “You don’t want to feel like you’re sleeping in the kitchen,” Gross told the Wall Street Journal.

Here’s a peek at Gross’s design (last two photos courtesy of the City of the Museum of New York). The exhibit runs until September 15th.

Making Room Amie Gross living room

Making Room living room 2

Making Room Kitchen

Making Room Museum 1

Making Room Museum 2

Fun facts:

  • The Bloomberg administration predicts that by 2030 New York City will be home to 8.8 million people. That’s 600,000 more than the population in 2011.
  • Only 1.5 percent of New York City’s rental housing stock is a studio or one-bedroom apartment ready for occupancy.
  • Only 18 percent of the city’s housing is occupied by nuclear families, defined as two parents and children under age 25.
  • Wonder why Japan has traditionally been at the forefront of efficient home design? During the Edo period (1603-1868), the majority of urban dwellers lived in 100-square-foot nagaya rowhouses, which emphasized portable design, solid infrastructure and communal spaces.

Overheard at the exhibit:

  • “My architect friend designed a fold-out bed with a desk attached to it. It’s beyond a Murphy Bed.”
  • “This closet with the pull-out rack — what about heavier items, like my fur coats?”
  • “Italians aren’t going to make a puzzle piece to live in. It has to be a home. It has to be beautiful.”

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