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094_A House Like Us

A House Like Us is the first outcome of the ongoing research SPLENDID VACANCIES, a collection of small-scale urban housing prototypes that, occupying leftover spaces and reacting to specific conditions of different cities and their neighborhoods across the US, explore the potential of alternative ways of initiating, funding and operating buildings dedicated to housing in metropolitan centers.

A House Like Us uses NYC as a testing ground. The prevalence of unoccupied public land, its socio-economic inequalities, and a long-lasting housing crisis, among other pressing issues, make this city a fertile site for experimentation on housing alternatives, new collective forms, and urban ground activation.


As a response, A House Like Us proposes a small-scale prototype for co-generative housing where new forms of communal land ownership are translated into a communal house, allowing its residents to modulate sharing and privacy according to their needs and aspirations. The project becomes a space of rediscovery of societal practices long submerged by the market economy and its demands, a space of experimentation with alternative life models and possible future scenarios for our life in common.

The prototype occupies a public vacant lot (27’x100’) owned by New York City Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development in 68 West 116St, Harlem, Upper Manhattan. This part of the city is synonymous with Black American culture, a neighborhood of under one-and-a-half square miles that sparks excitement, optimism, and pride and where the architecture of the streets is a manifestation of the human ecology.

Delving into this loaded built environment that has long been a testing ground for architectural and urban strategies, the project aims to become an active part of the surrounding neighborhood. Opening up the lower levels, the proposal claims its role in the configuration of the urban ground and becomes a continuation of the street, anticipating  a vertical sequence of inhabited platforms where private and shared space are equally divided as a reflection of social live in the area.


Year: 2020-21 / Location: NYC, US / Program: Communal Housing / Type: Research / Collaborators: Analee Bipin Patel, Chanhyuk Joo / Status: Proposal, replicable / Prototype 1: Harlem, Size: 23.000sf


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