A tall, narrow volume in the urban fabric of Brooklyn

Only If designs a home that occupies a small lot in an expanding neighborhood, shaping bright, connected spaces that redevelop the site. 

Located in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, on a narrow, irregular lot about 4 meters wide, studio Only If’s project represents a reflection on the potential of architecture in small urban spaces. The New York City neighborhood where Narrow House is located is rapidly expanding but has several vacant lots – in 2017, for the Shenzhen Biennial exhibition, 3,600 of these spaces were identified by the studio. 

The project’s lot, purchased in 2015 by the architects themselves, transcends the classic designer-client relationship and commissioning theme, exploring and producing an experimental form of residential architecture. 

Only If, Narrow House
Only If, Narrow House. Photo Iwan Baan

The design took into account the main problems of a tall, narrow structure: lighting and circulation. Therefore, large openings were included on the front and back facades, where there is a courtyard accessible by a pivoting glazed door.

Only If, Narrow House
Only If, Narrow House. Photo Iwan Baan

Inside, the spaces are open and have no walls or partitions: they are distributed around a vertical void that houses the metal staircase and divides the light to the different levels. The ground floor, slightly raised, hosts the living, dining and kitchen areas – a black volume in metal, wood and terrace. On the upper floor two rooms with a wooden block that separates from the common areas and contains a bathroom and closet, are located together with a study.

The building, clad in black plaster, is characterized laterally by reinforced concrete blocks and enhanced in the facade with exposed metal diagonal planks. 

Narrow House
Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY
Residenza unifamiliare
Only If
Karolina Czeczek, Matthew Davis, Adam Frampton, Jedy Lau, Francesca Pagliaro, Jon Siani, Yue Zhang
MEP Engineer:
Plus Group Consulting Engineering PLLC
Structural engineer:
Reuther+Bowen, PC
Lighting consultant:
Dot Dash
Gross area:
262 sqm
Zoning floor area:
189 sqm

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