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Are these what the NYC apartments of the future will look like? Are these what the NYC apartments of the future will look like?
At the beginning of a new decade, it is natural to wonder what trends and phenomena we will see in days to come, and how issues like climate change and sustainability will affect building design. Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic affected everything from where people choose to live to what they need and want in their homes. Throughout New York, forward-thinking architects and up-and-coming designers alike are putting new ideas into action and incorporating the lessons of recent years into their buildings. We gathered some of the most meaningful trends and innovative designs available throughout New York.

Direct Elevator Entry
139-Huron-Street-01 All images of Bath Haus via Compass
Social distancing is now part of the lexicon, and it’s not easy to practice while waiting for the elevator or riding it in a multifamily building. But before the first Covid case was reported, buildings were working on making the elevator experience more private and luxurious. Penthouse apartments often have their own dedicated elevator that goes straight to the home with no other residents, and opens directly into the apartment. That is the case at Bath Haus, a new Greenpoint condo conversion. Upon arrival, a 50' Great Room leads to a massive private terrace. See floor plan and full details here.

Superior Air Filtration
320-West-135th-Street-01 All images of One St. Nicholas Park via Sotheby's International Realty
Throughout New York, many buildings rushed to install high-tech air and water filtration systems in response to the pandemic. Some, though, did not have to worry - either they already had MERV-13 or MERV-14 air filters installed from the start, or they were under construction and could incorporate this feature into the plan. At One St. Nicholas Park, a new condo development, each unit has a state-of-the-art HVAC system with specialty MERV-13 air filters. This one-bedroom also features oversized, technologically advanced windows, elegant open kitchen with Bosch and Miele appliances, luxurious bath, a private east-facing terrace. See floor plan and full details here.

Copper Fixtures
138-Willoughby-Street-01 All images of Brooklyn Point via Extell
Since copper has been known to kill germs on contact, architects and interior designers have begun to take that to heart when working on new buildings. That is especially true at The Fitzroy - not only are the building’s windows clad in copper, but high-touch surfaces like kitchen and bath fixtures are made of copper. At Brooklyn Point, residents have access to "the Extell choice" of finishes for the kitchens, which includes the option of custom satin copper hardware. The baths also come with the choice of custom hardware for fixtures. See floor plan and full details here.

Office Alcoves
30-East-29th-Street-01 All images of Rose Hill via CORE
In an interview, Nancy Ruddy of CetraRuddy told CityRealty, “People now use their apartments very differently than they used to, and we wanted apartments people could adapt to their lifestyles.” That is especially evident today, and the apartments at Rose Hill are designed with “flex spaces” that can be used as home offices, children’s play areas, music rooms, walk-in wardrobes, or anything else the owner can imagine. See floor plan and full details here.

214-West-72nd-Street-01 All images of Parker West via Corcoran
Indeed, an increasing number of new buildings have made office alcoves a key part of their floor plan to reflect the needs of today's buyers. This full-floor unit's expansive floor plate has enough room for a home office, not to mention excellent light all day from oversized casement windows facing north, south, and west. The open kitchen offers custom Italian oak cabinetry and open shelving, marble slab countertops and backsplash, and a suite of premium appliances. See full details here.

Curved Glass/Bay Windows
212-West-72nd-Street-01 All images of 212 West 72nd Street via Corcoran
At the beginning of the 21st century, many New York buildings embraced floor-to-ceiling windows as a way of flooding the apartments inside with natural light. However, more modern designs are taking this one step further by adding curved glass or bay windows to increase the light, a trend that can be seen in buildings designed by some of the biggest names in architecture: Rafael Vinoly at 125 Greenwich Street, Thomas Heatherwick at Lantern House, and Renzo Piano at 565 Broome Soho. Developers, too, embrace this because such apartments command higher prices.

At 212 West 72nd Street, the focal point of the corner Great Room is the oversized, curved, east-facing windows with open views over Verdi Square Park. The open kitchen also benefits from the abundant natural light, and is outfitted with white matte lacquer cabinetry, an oversized island with quartzite countertop and seating for five, and a full suite of Miele appliances. The primary bedroom features an oversized walk-in closet and luxuriously finished en suite bath. See floor plan and full details here.

All-Electric Buildings
100 Flatbush Avenue Credit: Alloy Development
Between the pursuit of LEED and Passive House certification, there is no shortage of ways that New York builders can show their commitment to the environment. However, as work begins on its massive new development that will include new schools, new retail, and hundreds of new apartments, Alloy Development is set to go one step further and, in the words of co-founder and CEO Jared Della Valle, "make this the most sustainable block in Downtown Brooklyn." One way he proposes to do that is by using electric energy for functions that would normally use natural gas. This is a first for New York buildings.

Retractable Walls and Moving Screens
224-East-14th-Street-1 All images of Brownstone East Village via Nest Seekers
224-East-14th-Street-2 Kitchen
224-East-14th-Street-3 Bedroom
With a flip of a switch, this terrific triplex is transformed when fully retractable walls open up to overlook 14th Street in the living room and to access a backyard garden with a grill and dining area from the open, state-of-the-art chef's kitchen. On the second floor, the master suite boasts floor-to-ceiling soundproof windows and bath with rain shower. Additional features include exposed brick walls, soaring 12' ceilings, and vented in-unit washer/dryer. It is little wonder this apartment has been featured in New York magazine, Elle Decor, and on Million Dollar Listing. Sold for $2,340,000 on March 20, 2020.

Creative Construction
2-Monitor-Street-1 All images of 2 Monitor Street via Compass
2-Monitor-Street-2 Living room
2-Monitor-Street-3 Den
On the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, 21 shipping containers were used to build an enormous townhouse with three private terraces. Interiors pay homage to the area's history with industrial-chic decor, and floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the home in northern and southern light. The first level is dedicated to entertaining with an enormous living room with a wood-burning fireplace, open chef's kitchen, and media room with stadium seating, suspended 90" television, and surround sound. Up the floating steel staircase, the top-floor master suite comes with a walk-in closet, twin powder rooms, spa-like bath, and a private terrace. Additional features include generous storage space, a temperature-controlled wine room, and off-street parking. See floor plan and full details here.

Biophilic Design
550-Vanderbilt-Avenue-1 All images of 550 Vanderbilt via COOKFOX Architects
550-Vanderbilt-Avenue-2 Living room and terrace
550-Vanderbilt-Avenue-3 Master suite with terrace access
As new development seems to be crammed into every available square inch of New York space, developers are mindful of maintaining and restoring the connection to nature that contributes to human health and productivity. That is where biophilic design comes in, and 550 Vanderbilt seeks to bring that to new development Pacific Park. Not only is the building surrounded by a 350,000-square-foot park, but its expansive windows are surrounded by flowering planters. This penthouse with panoramic views also enjoys natural materials and an expansive private terrace that surrounds the apartment. However, none of this comes at the expense of the high-end appliances, sophisticated fixtures, and state-of-the-art infrastructure the modern buyer has come to expect. See floor plan and full details here.

Modular Construction
193-Henry-Street-1 Idylls via Douglas Elliman
In a city where construction seems to be a never-ending process, it's natural to wonder how long it's going to take for a building to rise. Thanks to prefabrication techniques, the answer can be much faster than some would think - on the Lower East Side, a seven-story condominium at Idylls used modular construction to be fully stacked in less than a week. While there are still some kinks to iron out, more developers and designers are embracing modular construction as a way to work faster and offset increasing labor prices. Additional modular buildings include Carmel Place (see below) and 201 East Broadway (developed in conjunction with Idylls), and Danny Forster & Architecture is considering the possibility for a new hotel at 88 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn.

Sinuous lines and Avant-garde design
520-West-28th-Street-1 All images of 520 West 28th Street via The Corcoran Group
520-West-28th-Street-2 Kitchen
520-West-28th-Street-3 Bedroom
Dame Zaha Hadid's masterpiece on the High Line is distinguished both inside and out by its sculptural form and distinctive chevron facade that allows for curved lines and unique windows in every unit. This particular apartment boasts soaring ceilings, custom wall paneling, an expansive Great Room, and 14 windows throughout that flood the space with light. The open kitchen features cabinetry by Boffi, a full suite of Gaggenau appliances, and and a sculptural island. Two super-luxe bedroom suites and extensive closet space complete this design-lover's dream home. See floor plan and full details here.

Sky Garages
200-Eleventh-Avenue-1 All images of 200 Eleventh Avenue via Douglas Elliman
200-Eleventh-Avenue-2 Great Room and kitchen
200-Eleventh-Avenue-3 Bedroom
Early in the pandemic, two contradictory things happened: Many streets of New York were closed to traffic so as to allow social distancing to take place on the sidewalks, and car ownership shot up as people worried about contracting the virus on public transportation. Several outdoor programs remain a hit, but this has eaten up a number of parking spaces at a time when there are more car owners than ever. These drivers would be happy in a building with private parking - to live here is to never have to worry about someone stealing your spot again. Acclaimed architect Annabelle Selldorf took this even further at 200 Eleventh Avenue: Fourteen out of sixteen units boast en-suite "sky garages" where residents can literally drive up to their apartments by taking a car elevator home.

This dramatically designed duplex is one of them, and a foyer leads to a living room with 23' ceilings, custom-built bookcases, southern walls designed for an art collection, and oversized French doors that let the outside in. The adjoining dining area is next to a custom kitchen concealed by folding teak doors. Up the open staircase, the master suite boasts sweeping river views and bath with solid granite soaking tub. RENTED.

Cross-Laminated Timber
80-Ainslie-Street-1 Rendering of 80 Ainslie Street via Syndicate Architecture
As parts of Brooklyn show, cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction is making something of a comeback in New York thanks to concerns about the environment. Wood is a renewable resource that can be produced in sustainably managed forests, and weather-tight construction makes for a smaller carbon footprint and energy bill alike. Inside, the timber provides exposed wood and beams with no effort from the designer. While building codes keep us from seeing a CLT skyscraper, we can enjoy prime examples at 320 and 360 Wythe Avenue, 80 Ainslie Street, and Frame 283, which is fully leased after opening in January 2021.

Indoors Meet Outdoors
101-North-5th-Street-01 All images of NV via Douglas Elliman
At a time when New Yorkers were confined to their homes and building amenities were closed, the most fortunate could step onto their private balconies or terraces for fresh air and a moment of respite. Developers and designers quickly recognized what a valuable feature this is, and incorporated private outdoor space into a larger number of units in new buildings.

Full-floor penthouse apartment in the center of Williamsburg boasts double exposures and a pair of private outdoor spaces. The south-facing roof deck is ideal for plants, and a north-facing terrace opens directly into the living room. Interiors feature wide plank hardwood oak flooring, kitchen with custom lacquered cabinetry and paneled appliances, primary bath with double sink and large shower, and large-capacity in-unit washer/dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

Vegetated Facades and Roofs
41-Bond-Street-1 41 Bond Street (CityRealty)
41-Bond-Street-2 Living/dining area
41-Bond-Street-3 Terrace
Passive House construction may be the new gold standard when it comes to sustainable development, but its certification process is notoriously vigorous. However, just because a building can't meet it doesn't mean it can't be environmentally friendly. Developer/designer DDG recognizes this and has incorporated vegetated facades into projects like 41 Bond Street, XOCO 325, and 345 Meatpacking: These buildings feature very different designs and addresses, but all of them trap heat, improve air quality, and add a touch of greenery thanks to their planted facades. This duplex penthouse takes that one step further with two private balconies, both with plenty of room for plants, and a landscaped roof deck. Interiors feature floor-to-ceiling windows, wet bar, peaceful master suite, and solarium with gas fireplace. RENTED.

72-Middagh-Street-01 All images of 72 Middagh Street via Leslie J. Garfield
Beautifully renovated single-family home in the heart of Brooklyn Heights has been updated with new mechanical systems, windows, floors, and appliances. The excavated basement features a pool, sauna, skylight, and wine storage. Upstairs, a green roof deck is ideal for offsetting stormwater runoff. In between, additional features include kitchen with high-end appliances, south-facing greenhouse, extra-long living room, and full-floor primary suite with two walk-in closets, double-vanity bath, and sitting room with wet bar. See floor plan and full details here.

Modern Loft Living
52-East-4th-Street-1 All images of 52E4 via Douglas Elliman
This East Village boutique condo building is the winner of the 2008 Society of American Registered Architects Design Award, and this full-floor unit looks eligible for awards as well with its exposed structural elements that pay tribute to the lofts of Lower Manhattan. The large living/dining room looks out on neighboring rooftops, and the home is filled with light from 13' ceilings and immense windows. High-tech features include sleek white lacquered kitchen, two-zone HVAC, power shades, and audio with built-in speakers. See floor plan and full details here.

Highlighting Unique Structural Systems
53-West-53rd-Street-1 All images of 53W53 via Douglas Elliman
Located in a soaring condo tower designed by Pritzker Prize laureate Jean Nouvel, this residence's innovative structural system is expressed as a work of sculptural art that thinks quite far outside the white box. This massive apartment is reached via direct elevator entry, and a gracious entrance hall leads to a large living room with views of Central Park, the Hudson River, and the Lower Manhattan skyline. The compact, park-facing kitchen comes outfitted with custom Molteni cabinetry, statuary marble countertops, backlit backsplash, and full suite of high-end appliances. In the corner master suite, a richly detailed bath with heated Verona limestone slab floors and baseboard and marble walls makes a stunning showpiece. See floor plan and full details here.

Compact Apartments
148-East-126th-Street-01 All images of The Smile via Blumenfeld Development Group
Certain modular homes are described as "micro-apartments," but make the most of every square inch of space with fold-down furniture, full-depth closets, and creative custom storage solutions. Residential amenities at Carmel Place, a building entirely comprised of micro-units, are aimed at getting residents out of their homes and include a fitness center, entertainment lounge, courtyard, and roof terrace with grills.

Other buildings have integrated space-saving furniture into studio and one-bedroom units so as to make the most of the limited square footage of these floor plans. Select units at The Artisan are outfitted with a modular furniture system with built-in displays and furniture that can be stowed at the tap of an app. Further uptown, a selection of apartments at The Smile are outfitted with a furniture system that lets residents stow their bed, desk, and wardrobe in the ceiling with a sophisticated robotic system and ceiling-mounted grid. See full details here.

Passive House Construction
25-West-88th-Street-01 All images of 25 West 88th Street via Leslie J. Garfield
In a city where buildings are responsible for two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions, developers and designers must consider their projects' environmental impact as well as the financial and aesthetic effects. On the Upper West Side, a masterfully renovated single-family townhouse dating back to 1889 was among the first in Manhattan to receive a national designation as Passive Energy Certification and Platinum LEED certification.

The 19th-century brownstone facade was beautifully replaced, and the interiors were gut renovated with superior insulation, triple-pane glass windows, LED lighting, continuous hospital-grade air filters, triple-filtered water, and smart home technology. Additional features include solar panels, EcoSmart fireplace, chef's kitchen, backyard with Wolf grill, and baths with Waterworks fixtures. See floor plan and full details here.

Solar Panels/Cogeneration
Solar-Panels-01 Rooftop solar panels via M-Core
Rising and reconstructed buildings are quick to make use of environmentally friendly materials and methods, and older buildings are also starting to embrace opportunities to go both green and into the future. As cooperatives all over the city are starting to find, the installation of solar panels will improve their energy efficiency and pass significantly lower utility costs on to residents. This peaceful prewar home enjoys hardwood floors, freshly skimmed walls, high ceilings, windowed kitchen, and excellent closet space. The building also has a bike room and excellent access to public transportation, but its excellent Upper West Side location near Central Park, popular restaurants, top schools, and shopping makes it easy to use the most environmentally friendly transportation of all: one's own feet. See floor plan and full details here.

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