City Grill

David E. Gross

David E. Gross 
Executive and Co-Founding Partner
GF55 Architects

“Community” sums up current construction trends in New York City, Gross says. “There is an increase in multifamily buildings” that also house charter schools, he notes. “There is tremendous demand for charter schools, and while [they] would prefer to be stand-alones … they are being built within a larger development.” Gross sees this as a sensible combination. The schools alone “are often not big enough to fill up the buildable area of the site,” he says, so linking the two “helps to maximize site use.”

The major challenge, however, “is that a portion of the building has a completely different function, and that drives a very different structural need,” Gross says. “The layout becomes more complex—coordinating structure and egress become issues, and aesthetically, we want the design of the building to look cohesive when it’s two very different functions.”

Another notable trend is the use of “preconstructed panelized wall systems along logistically difficult sites,” Gross says, explaining they pose an aesthetics challenge. “We have to come up with design solutions that make something innately repetitive look attractive.”