Essex Street Crossing

in collaboration with:
Ema Scheifele

The Essex Street Crossing development is one of the largest projects of its kind, underway in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The mega-site comprises several city blocks, and promises to offer an array of commercial, residential and public spaces, with the focal point being the historic Essex Street Market. Although the existing project will offer a small percentage of affordable housing units, it does little to address the increasingly severe housing crisis in New York City. Our proposal seeks to re-think the development, and take into account the current social, political, economic and environmental context that represents this site. One way we begin to address these challenges is by introducing an "inter-modular zone" that allows for extreme flexibility of unit organization. By using this technique, units can be adjusted for its occupants, and space is reclaimed from hallways and other dead spaces. Additionally, public program is better distributed throughout the building, bringing the public up higher, and into the built environment. An expansive open courtyard is harbored beneath the building and is linked to the larger urban network by an elevated path that also helps relieve congestion from the Williamsburg bridge interchange. Vertical circulation links several layers: uniting, for the first time, the subway, proposed low-line park, market-line, street level, elevated path and structures above.

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