"Key Party: City as Home" by nARCHITECTS

Digital print on paper.

  1. We now live dispersed: our houses no longer defined by walls, but spread across our blocks, our city.

  2. Our block is our home; our city is our house. Everything is everywhere; one only needs a key. We have many such keys, some more and some less – keys to everything.

  3. We need to move around much of the time, like atoms converging and separating; delineating a different home every day.

  4. Our blocks are porous, our city laced with a myriad of shortcuts and public commons.

  5. We don’t need as much space, as almost every space is used almost all of the time.

  6. For all the large and varied places we meet in, we retreat to as many small ones to find ourselves alone.

Key Party: City as Home represents an alternate, hypothetical Manhattan that extrapolates on a universal culture of sharing and its corollary – a retreat to small spaces affording privacy and escape from pervasive civic life. Acknowledging the potential for both utopian and dystopian consequences for a society based on sharing, the title of the project, Key Party, refers to extended (and inherently limited) access to shared services and amenities in a society with both increased opportunities and rising inequality.  

City blocks are reimagined as overlapping, dispersed homes, comprised of larger shared buildings and slender mini-towers that allow for solitude within the crowd. A lower density, afforded by the efficiencies of sharing, results in additional networks of public space and greenery at the scales of block and city. Rather than a manifesto or proposal for urban renewal, Key Party: City as Home functions as an extrapolation, exposing both the excitement and peril of the sharing model of society.


nARCHITECTS was founded by Principals Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang with a goal of addressing  contemporary issues through innovative concepts, social engagement, and technical experimentation. The letter “n” represents a variable, indicating the firm’s interest in designing for a dynamic variety of experiences within a systemic approach. The firm’s work instigates relationships between architecture and public space, and their dynamically changing contexts.

nARCHITECTS' architecture provokes social interactions that in turn question basic building types and systems, responding to evolving criteria or phenomena such as weather (as in their bamboo Canopy for MoMA PS1, 2004); light and views (Switch Building, 2007); rising sea levels (New Aqueous City, Rising Currents, MoMA, 2010); shifting demographics (Carmel Place, 2016); and landscape (Chicago Navy Pier, 2016).  While engaging with complexity and flux, nARCHITECTS aims to create architecture with an economy of conceptual and material means.

nARCHITECTS was recently honored with an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in Architecture and with the AIANY’s Andrew J. Thomson Award for Pioneering in Housing. Previous recognition includes The Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award, several AIANY Design Honor and Merit Awards, the Canadian Professional Rome Prize, Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard, and two NYFA grants.

Principals Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang are Adjunct Assistant Professors at Columbia University.

Team Credit:

Eric Bunge

Mimi Hoang

Ammr Vandal

You Chia Lai

Jessica Cheung

Christopher Brockhoft

Ruomeng Wang

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Storefront for Art and Architecture
Attn: Jinny Khanduja
611 Broadway, Suite 634
New York, NY 10012

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