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First Step Housing Competition / Winning Entry "Kit of Parts"
Bowery, New York, New York 10013

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Kit of Parts represents a dignified, ecologically responsible dwelling alternative for marginalized or displaced populations. Commitment to community, dignity, sustainability, and the ability to evolve led to its creation.

Easily assembled dwellings engage inhabitants in constructing and configuring their space. Active participation in assembly and design serves as a vehicle to restore and to build individual and community confidence. Fabrication of parts in the local economy creates job opportunities. During times of disaster, the more capable members of the community assist the injured and the needy in rebuilding their homes. This process creates a social equity and acts as a bonding agent in the reemerging community.

Through the shelter, architectural innovations previously available to only an elite few are now made accessible to marginalized populations, communities of limited resources and to disaster zones.

A kit of parts is the main idea followed throughout the design of the unit.

The parts are prefabricated and are ready to assemble at a minimum expenditure of cost and time. The shelter is designed to maintain its assemblage qualities that results in an invitation for personalization and customization of the room over time and according to the specific user.

Kit of Parts is designed as a place of transition. Future gusts will be able to use their current skills and take on responsibility and confidence in the realization of their own personal space. They can make the space fit their needs and be reintroduced to the advantages of private space, community, and the benefits of participating in society.

The design of the unit allows for several types of homeless people to use the same Kit to create their own individual space. Three prototypes that we have identified and specifically considered in our design are the

The loner
The creator
The collector

The floor layout and overall size of the unit is determined by its ability to store Minimum furnishings and storage needs. The door of each unit has an opening insert that allows communication, exchange and display to take place among dwellers. When a number of units are put together in two rows, they create a corridor. This becomes a place of community and interaction: a marketplace or interior street.

The unit dimensions are 312cm X 208cm and it contains a bed, chair, desk and shelving to meet the basic needs of the inhabitant.

The materials chosen for the units are light, durable, sustainable, fire proofed, low cost, friendly, clean and colorful, borrowed from the aviation, marine and ecological building industry.

Photographs by Brad Harris and Rafi Elbaz

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