The Village Close
Close, as in, close together.
If you’re in Scotland, a “close” is a narrow alleyway leading to a courtyard or stairway to the living quarters. At 356 West 12th Street, it’s the Village Close: a 6-foot-wide lane channels through the middle of a West Village block, drawing people and light into a courtyard bazaar run by the residents co-living upstairs.
The Village Close is about density and proximity and how we care for the people in our lives.
The concept leverages the commercial provisions of the site’s zoning to subsidize the residential program of the rest of the building. The intent is to reorient the scale and economy of the existing structure to establish a model of dense urban co-living that easily adapts to local needs and cultures in other urban contexts.
At maximum occupancy, the Village Close is home to 30 residents: 3 to 4 families and 10 individuals live on the dedicated third and fourth floors. Each individual tenant has a private 100-square-foot bedroom and shares the floor’s two bathrooms with multiple fixtures. Each of three families shares the bathroom inside its 770-square-foot pod. The family floor has an additional 120-square-foot bedroom and a gender-neutral bathroom. Every bedroom in the Close gets natural light through the channeled-glass wall facing the courtyard.
Every resident who signs a lease with the Village Close is also signing a cooperative agreement to participate in the management of the building and its commercial enterprise. The communal living space on the second floor includes an office dedicated for house management, as well as a commercial kitchen, available for short-term rental. Residents are entitled to a share of the bazaar’s vendor schedule to sell their own goods and services.
The courtyard’s street-level bazaar anchors the sharing economy of the Close community. In summer the channeled-glass doors slide all the way open to create a courtyard for vendors, artisan demonstrations, community events, and pop-up workshops. In colder weather the courtyard becomes an outdoor exhibition space. The interior furniture is movable for flexible configuration and maneuverability.
New York’s Greenwich Village lends itself to density and co-living, but every city can make the Village Close its own.