Portfolio Project Detail

Imprint Michael Vollrath, JanieBlair Luft, McKenna Large, and Makena Rhodes

Concept & Approach 
Imprint is a co-living environment as unique as a fingerprint, as individualistic as people. The way people interact and engage with their surroundings–their next-door neighbor, their local florist, or their employer– is all unique. These interactions harmonize to forge a community that is as special as each member involved. Imprint builds the framework for a new housing typology that unifies the notion of a home with community experience.

Our approach to a co-living environment is programmatically and interior driven to establish a correlation between built space and community. Direct access to various communal spaces makes the environment welcoming, pleasant, and home-like. Visual and physical connections to living areas embolden friendly interactions between residents and people outside of the micro-community. 48 personal units of varying sizes buffer residents from the surrounding bustling world. Even with a small footprint, the impact Imprint has on its residents and adjacent culture is mighty.

Design Strategy
Nestled directly in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, Imprint is a short walk from the Whitney Museum, the Hudson River, and many art studios. The locals are accustomed to the welcoming street presence of the existing brick façade. Keeping the exposed structure encases public spaces, engaging the street on the north and south block. Fluidity on the ground floor is created through operable gateways, exterior courtyards, and mobile partitions, accommodating a wide array of community events. Rotating shows held on the ground floor, such as improv or karaoke night, link the DNA of the Chelsea culture to the communal home. To further engage the community, a vertical mural rises from the public floor, with the central stair, encouraging local artists to leave their imprint on the residence.

A mass timber structure is inserted on top of the existing site to allow for ample living density stacked vertically. This structure is environmentally sustainable and has an aesthetic appeal that draws locals in. Protruding niches in each bedroom allow natural light to filter into personal spaces. Full height glazing on North and South façades flank the living spaces allowing daylight to travel throughout the floor plate. Increased exterior and interior visibility to communal spaces heighten the sense of safety and camaraderie.

Living Design
Imprint aims to harmoniously fuse sustainability, design, and human behavior into an integrative process. Features such as rainwater collection, community gardens, and passive ventilation allow the design to check off 15 of the Living Design Challenge indicators.

House Rules
Communication, individual appreciation, and trust are primary drivers of the communal culture. House rules are established as guidelines and are practiced to generate a flourishing community.
A portion of resident’s monthly rent contributes towards weekly meals organized, cooked, and shared for residents, by residents. Residents are encouraged to take full advantage of food grown and sustained in the community gardens.
A mobile app is the one stop shop for residents. Here, residents can: check out transportation, host an online forum, access the weekly communal menu, or find information on the ground floor’s upcoming shows.