The Subsidized Solution
Flank, known for its inventive façades (like the copper cladding at 385 West 12th Street), came up with a concept that inventively addresses the acute shortage of apartments for middle-income Manhattanites. “Affordable housing, the way it’s being created now, isn’t bringing housing downtown, not anywhere close to where people work,” says Mick Walsdorf, one of FLAnk’s principals. The private-sector, free-market solution integrates a corporate logo into the building’s shell, creating a permanent billboard at a major artery; ad revenue subsidizes the apartments. For this exercise, the firm picked Target—a clever choice, given that the company’s known for unexpectedly chic design at extremely basic prices.