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Murphy House

New York

New York City households reflect increasingly diverse living arrangements.  Viable urban housing must be designed to reflect this diversity in such a way that promotes a sense of ownership and pride in its residents. Like the bed from which the building takes its name, the essence of the Murphy House is convertibility.  The building is based on four unit types.  Each unit is joined to an adjacent, dissimilar, unit by an internally-pivoting, lifting wall, creating new unit types designed to accommodate non-traditional families. In contrast to the anonymous uniformity of much of New York’s affordable housing, the Murphy House favors heterogeneous expression over relentless repetition.  The conjoined units are fit together to create a vibrant façade.  This façade expresses the diversity of the units within, promoting a resident’s sense of ownership of a “piece” of the building. The Murphy House employs sustainable practices, such providing dedicated bicycle storage closets, as well as the use of high-albedo concrete with recycled content.  In addition, the Murphy House dedicates the western thirty feet of the site to a common green space reserved for resident use, combining sustainable practices with increased pride-of-place.