New York Is Pushing Under-400-SqFt ‘Micro’ Apartments — See the Winning Design!

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last year city planners’ vision to create micro-apartments, not much bigger than the size of a dorm room. Now the winning 370-square-foot — maximum — design has been unveiled.

Mayor Bloomberg surveys the model of the apartment design. (Photo: Spencer T Tucker/

Designed by Monadnock Development LLC, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and nARCHITECTS for the adAPT NYC Competition as part of the larger “My Micro NY” project, the apartment complex to be started next year will be on Manhattan’s east side featuring 55 “micro units.” These units will be between 250 and 370 square feet.

According to the city’s press release, it will be the first multi-unit building in Manhattan using modular construction, meaning the unit modules will be prefabricated at the Brooklyn Navy Yard by the company Capsys.

(Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office via the New York Times)

“New York’s ability to adapt with changing times is what made us the world’s greatest city – and it’s going to be what keeps us strong in the 21st Century,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “The growth rate for one- and two-person households greatly exceeds that of households with three or more people, and addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations.”

Watch Bloomberg announce the winner:

To make up for the shoe-box dimensions, the building will offer residents common spaces like a rooftop garden and lounge area on nearly every floor. The aim is to offer more such tiny apartments throughout the city as affordable options for the young singles, cash-poor and empty nesters who are increasingly edged out of the nation’s most expensive real-estate market.

A 325-square-foot furnished model of the pilot program’s design is being showcased at the Museum of the City of New York. There’s the bed that folds out over a couch, a padded ottoman containing four nesting chairs, a fold-out dinette table tucked neatly under the kitchen counter and a TV that slides away to reveal a bar. The city describes the unit as divided into zones: a “toolbox,” which continues the kitchen, bathroom and storage, and a “canvas,” which serves as the primary, flexible living area.

Jack Sproule tries out a fold-down bed in a 325 square foot model apartment at an exhibit called “Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers” at the Museum of the City of New York in New York. (Photo: AP/Seth Wenig)

Other amenities in the 12-foot-by-24-foot model include a cute bathroom that is 5 feet 9 inches by 7 feet 9 inches, a refrigerator and separate freezer tucked under the counter, and the holy grail of New York apartments, a dishwasher. The Murphy bed, like most of the features, glides out with only a light touch of the hand.

“It’s almost like a space shuttle or an ocean liner in how it’s designed,” Donald Albrecht, the co-curator of the exhibition, told the Associated Press.

Floorplans (Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office via the New York Times)

If the pilot program is successful, New York could ultimately overturn a requirement established in 1987 that all new apartments be at least 400 square feet. Smaller living is a concept already endorsed by some cities. San Francisco recently approved construction of apartments as small as 220 square feet. And Tokyo and Hong Kong have long offered tiny units.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.