Mayor Bloomberg yesterday unveiled a “microunit” apartment that would make some hardened NewYorkers claustrophobic: The homes measure between 275 and 300 square feet, the size of some ATM vestibules in Times Square, and will be built in Kips Bay. They are part of a pilot program to find housing for people who live alone or with only a partner.
So is 275-300sf sufficient space for a human being? Absolutely. Not for everyone, but certainly for those who enjoy, small, affordable, micro-managed space. I think its possible to to design a 300sf space more effectively and efficiently than most apartments double that size. I have been proposing this for years. Some may say this size apartment is cruel and inhuman, but those same people have never realized that this is the approximate dimensions of the average hotel room. And I have been perfectly comfortable in hotel rooms this size. I do think that the common spaces associated with this type of building need to be very wonderful….a good ‘lounge’ area, gym, etc would offset the need for a place to stretch. Now of course, the average super-sized American may have a problem in this size of space, but others around the globe would consider it quite comfortable. I remember living in a super-small studio…..I could dine 4 people, seat 4 people and I had a queen sized bed….and a piano. It fit together well. It was actually quite chic. I had several of the furniture pieces custom made so that everything fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. I loved that apartment!
I would prefer these spaces to be condominium, rather than rental spaces: How great to own a micro-apartment in a major city that doesn’t require you being super-rich! It could mark the democratization of the city pied a terre……now if only the City and State don’t tax these apartments to death, like they do all other new construction. So to those grieving the rental costs of these units, look to the real estate taxation system to understand why the costs are so high: Of the $ 2,000/month rent they plan to charge, I wonder what the percentage of taxes will be?