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Self Storage Facilities In New York

Manhattan Mini-Storage building in New York City, Brett Beyer (2015). Courtesy of the author.

Site Brief:

Site Briefs provide the framework for the In Residence: Call for Intervention Strategies and Call for Associated Projects, and open up architectural questions associated to each site.

Both the proliferation and typological changes of storage facilities can be read as articulating and exemplifying shifts in the contemporary ways that we relate to objects. These changes range from immediate home delivery and online trading platforms to new production technologies associated to domestic applications of rapid prototyping, affecting our homes and the infrastructures that support them. With more than thirty facilities within Manhattan, the self-storage industry is very much alive in the financial capital of the United States, and is bound to change as fast as the price of land.[1]

The self storage industry originally targeted affluent suburban households, responding to their need to move to denser areas. As Jesse M. Keenan from CURE explains, the accelerated life cycling of housing associated with an ever more dynamic job market has transformed the profile of the personal storage industry, which has increasingly come to support young professionals moving frequently within global metropolitan networks.[2] These infrastructures, with their regular distribution of stacked corridors and homogenous colored metal doors, are no longer limited to the unused leftovers of affluent suburban life, but include materials associated with daily dynamics. With storage spaces ranging from the size of a locker to that of a garage, many storage facilities are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They have come to complement the domestic space in very different ways—from an extra closet midway en route to work, to a remote workshop—both in response to over consumption trends and precarious housing conditions. The sprawling suburban structures have been superseded by big fat volumes located in strategic urban locations. But these buildings are also submitted to the logics of real estate, functioning within these logics as capital repositories. New storing trends are intertwined with the transformed architectures, the changing location of the facilities, and are supported by aggressive media campaigns.

This case interrogates the imbrication of storage facilities within domestic networks, and the emergence of a two-fold condition: first, that despite constant changes of residence, belongings might remain fixed; and second, that regardless of the length of a stay in a specific residence, objects will keep circulating, as long as they can be stored.

Site Report (A Teaser):

First Office on Mini Storage Facilities in New York

Teaser coming soon...

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