Form in Rem

One Manhattan Square is the massive glass tower that now looms over the Manhattan Bridge. Beyond the building’s imposing presence, which fundamentally changes the built fabric of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, One Manhattan Square is a sharp symbol of the singular power of real estate to define development in the city. Construction of new housing is undoubtedly necessary to confront the housing supply and affordability crisis across New York City, however the seemingly monopolistic control of housing production by developers ensures that new residential buildings always conform to a traditional domestic model and serve the sanctity of real estate. One Manhattan Square is an archetypal example of the homogenous growth of the housing stock. Clearly marketed to wealthy individuals, the residential unit gives way to a financial instrument.

The Latin term “in rem” means “against a thing” and is used specifically in reference to legal action toward property. In the 1970’s, the NYC government significantly increased the stock of publicly owned affordable housing by using in rem jurisdiction to claim privately owned abandoned properties. Form in rem, an exhibition organized by Citygroup, calls for the production architectural form that challenges real estate. The task for participants in this investigation is to re-draw or deconstruct One Manhattan Square floor plan in a manner that challenges individual ownership, augments affordability, undermines real estate, asserts use over exchange value, and/or serves constituents beyond the single-family. In rem action therefore reclaims One Manhattan Square as housing that serves diverse subjectivities and income levels.

Participants: AJP Artemel, Almost Studio, Daisy Ames, ArchNoArch, Campagna, Sungwoo Choi + Tamrat Alemu, Michael Robinson Cohen + Violette de La Selle, Robert Hon, Sarah Kasper, Nicolas Kemper, Thom Medek, Merica May Jensen, Offline Office, Outside Development, Port Studio, Will Sheridan, Alice Tai, Lexi Tsien + Marcelo Lopez-Dinardi, Xiao Wu, Xinyi Wang, Sebastijan Jemec, Georgia Diva McGovern, Victoire Bourgois.