Set on Roosevelt Island in New York City, this site presented an interesting set of restrictions and opportunities. Roosevelt Island is a very thin island sitting in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. It has an unusually quiet community feeling that is not like the surrounding NYC areas. It's like an oasis in the city. This was  something that was very unique to this area and I wanted to include it in my design. 


This building features a variety of residences as well as a lower level, with public shopping and outdoor spaces. The goal of this project was to accomplish two things. First, was to mimick the feeling of Roosevelt Island and create a building that had a sense of community within itself and between the residents rather than creating a  completely isolated set of apartments that have little to no interaction. Second, was a revitalization of the rivers edge on which the building lies, creating public places that pulled pedestrians through from the sidewalk to the waters edge.


In order to accomplish a sense of community and connection between the different residents I began with defining a concept of dwelling and used that to help formulate my design. I defined dwelling as an individuals "own personal piece of the surrounding city". I then took the idea of the city block, specifically NYC, and the inner spaces created as the buildings lined the edge and created the first form which came together to create the "mat" portion of my building. These "city blocks" are made up of a variety of different sized units, ranging from studio apartments to three bedroom apartments that all fit together. Each has access to either a courtyard, terrace or both. These courtyards and terraces are accessible by other units as well but are nestled within the blocks, rather than being open to public circulation. This allows for small communities to develop between apartments as well as to give each unit access to an outdoor space which improves the quality of life for the residents which I believe is a priority.  I then took the idea that throughout NYC those tight, dense blocks break out to more open areas and I then broke apart my initial form of the "city block buildings" and created the tower portion. The tower is slightly more private, but still had many of the original concepts such as shared courtyards and open air spaces that the other units had. 


In addition to the courtyards and terraces there are multiple outdoor spaces on the ground floor which contribute both to the sense of community as well as revitalizing this area and the waters edge for the public. The ground floor has paths that are lined with stores and restaurants and allow for people to make their way down to the waters edge and be drawn down the pathway alongside the river. 



© 2015 by HANIYA ORLOFF. Proudly created with

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now
Upper Levels