The main living space occupies the entire north end of the penthouse. Here the ceiling rises to the underside of the third level terrace and then tapers upward through the full fifty-foot height of the penthouse structure. At the midpoint, a reading balcony is suspended on the exposed structural girders. At the attic level the outward sloping glass wall provides a vertiginous vista down to the Living Space four levels below. Furniture, fabrics, and finishes were designed by Ghislaine Viñas of Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design.
The entrance to a tubular slide, constructed from mirror-polished stainless steel, emerges through a circular hole cut in the seamless sloping glass partition at the south end of the Attic.
The cylindrical helical slide flares to an ellipse which is sectioned on the angle of the inclined glass wall resulting in a circular opening where the slide emerges through the glass. This circular opening creates an illusion of flatness contradicted by the sideways path of the slide as it begins its descent.
Visitors are invited to select a yellow cashmere blanket from the pile beside the entrance to speed their trip to the bottom….
The first leg of the slide passes through the attic glass, coils around the column and over the double-height guest bedroom, then slips through a second seamless glass window and out over the stair.
Windows in the slide admit natural light from the dormer windows and provide a fleeting vistas through the entire length of the penthouse.
To compete with the drama of the slide as it sweeps through the space and out the window to the stair, interior designer Ghislaine Vinas installed a startling mural, inspired by Michael Jackson’s Neverland, in the only vertical wall in the room. The saturated colors of the mural are fractured in the mirror polished facets of the slide, scatting patterns of color along the inner surface of the slide.
At the bedroom entrance a landing provides an opportunity to make a local stop at the third level or to re-enter the slide to continue down to the entrance level.
The lower slide coils down through the ceiling and into the Library on the main level, suspended from a single point within the floor structure above.
As it reaches the end, the helical slide tube flares out to create a distorted rectangular mirror which forms the wall of the Library and deposits the intrepid visitor back in the Entrance Gallery at the foot of the staircase.
The first phase of construction of a new compound for exhibiting innovative contemporary sculptural work required renovation of a spacious former trolley repair shop, including a forty-foot tall exhibition hall illuminated by the renovated clerestory and equipped with its original, fully operational twenty ton gantry crane. Mezzanine and cellar levels and an exterior entry courtyard provide additional exhibition spaces as well as reception, office, and storage areas. Designed in association with Maya Lin Studio.
Our office is preoccupied with space as the fundamental medium of architecture. The office employs a disciplined approach to the design of space, privileging emptiness over mass, void over solid, the immaterial over the material -- treating empty, enveloping, concave, subjective volume -rather than rather convex objective form- as the primary medium of design.
The private elevator landing opens into a tall vestibule, tapering upward to a seamless rectangular oculus which provides a view of the sculpted summit of the adjacent skyscraper.
From the elevator vestibule, the floor slopes gently upward, passing under the twisting shaft of the stairwell to arrive at the main level of the penthouse.
The stairwell shaft ascends through the full height of the penthouse, visually linking the entry hall with the structural glass floor of the attic four stories above.
The stair itself wraps around the stairwell. The facetted surfaces of the stairwell converge on apertures, trimmed in mirror polished stainless steel, which provide views into and through the stairwell from the surrounding spaces.
At the third level a structural glass bridge traverses the stairwell shaft passing through stainless-trimmed openings at either end.
The original riveted steel structure –clad in intumescent paint- threads through the faceted stairwell slipping through apertures into adjacent rooms.
This loft was designed for a young couple looking to take maximum advantage of the tall ceilings and enormous windows in this SoHo loft. The loft had been occupied by artists in the 70s and partitioned into two separate units with a collection of typical illegal conversion features: raised bathroom floors, windowless bedrooms, jerry-rigged mezzanines, clothes dryers venting into coffee cans filled with water, and a single exposure of enormous windows, with no light or ventilation on the other three sides of the apartment. At a later date the two apartments where combined adding further chaos.
The project called for a gut renovation. The strategy was to create a generous, double-height living room at the front of the loft, with the bedrooms, kitchen and dining area all borrowing light and air from it. In order to allow light to penetrate as deeply into the private rooms as possible, the partitions separating these rooms from the light-filled living space were fashioned from etched glass panels, framed in satin aluminum, and composed of hinged leaves which allow the rooms to open directly to the double-height living space. At the mezzanine level, the floor joining the media room to the two children’s bedrooms was itself constructed of laminated glass, and configured as a bridge passing over the Dining Area. Light fixtures fitted into the translucent walls and floor provide varied means for lighting the public and private areas of the loft. A new central air conditioning system, concealed in the built-out party wall to conserve ceiling height, provides fresh air to the interior rooms.
The project is rendered architecturally as a series of clearly defined interpenetrating volumes. Materials are treated as the surfaces of concave spaces rather than as faces of convex solids. This careful delineation of volume focuses upon architectural space, rather than sculptural form, as the principal medium of the design.
Two additional stories were added to a rare Queen-Anne townhouse under a raked roofline that keeps them invisible from street level. A new staircase, conceived as a continuously transforming sculptural element traversing eight stories from cellar spa to rooftop studio, forms the core of the house.
This film was produced by SilverLining Interiors, the construction management firm who managed the construction of the SkyHouse Project. The film is both a document of and a testament to their superb management of this demanding project. The film was directed by Jonathan Robinson of Build Pictures working with cinematographer Ben Wolf of Topiary Productions.
After the original SilverLining film was complete, the team collaborated with David Hotson on the Architect's Cut, shown here, which edits the footage down to the essential narrative of movement through the vertical spaces of the SkyHouse project.
The film is a wordless spatial narrative, following dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Lily Baldwin as she moves through the spaces of the SkyHouse project.
This duplex penthouse overlooking Central Park features a blackened steel stairway suspended from the upper level structure. The suspended stairway hangs over a marble plinth and pool occupying the entry hall of this loft-like lower level living space. Designed in association with Legorretta+Legorretta.
The vault of the arched dormer window extends into the center bedroom, carving out a volume of space over the glass topped desk. In addition to providing a well-lit surface for working and a perfectly framed view of the spire of the 1914 Woolworth Building, the glass desk provides light to the dining area and stairwell below; the enclosure beneath the glass desktop folds in to create space for sitting but the open space beneath the glass extends through to the levels below, allowing light from the third level dormer window to spill into the entry and creating inexplicable views between the different levels of the penthouse.
Set into the dormer at the opposite side of the bedroom, the alcove bed occupies a wedge of space extending up to the attic level oculus window.
This renovation posed the challenge of creating a serene, luminous pied-a-terre apartment in an existing two story space in which the principal living level located one-half story below ground level.
The apartment is entered from the building lobby directly onto the stair landing between the two floors of the apartment. The Living Dining and Kitchen areas are located on the larger lower level, which is one half story below sidewalk level. The experience of arrival at the entry landing from the adjacent dark paneled lobby belies this submerged location. Light wells up from the lower level, introduced through a large south-facing skylight which extends into the rear yard. The entry space, sheathed in sycamore paneling, connects the two floor levels, opening vistas through the apartment and distributing natural light to the interior bathrooms through etched glass partitions.
The apartment is designed for use during visits to New York by a single individual, a couple, a couple and guest, or a couple and their two young children. A sliding partition coverts the upper level bathroom from a single spacious bath with two lavatories a bathtub and a shower, to two self contained bathrooms with independent entrances. Likewise, a pivoting wardrobe cabinet converts the second sleeping area from a spacious guest room to two children’s bedrooms.
Similar transformable elements recur throughout the apartment. Appliances are completely concealed behind sycamore cabinets, allowing the kitchen to function as a serene background to the dining area. The simple island cabinet in the kitchen transforms into two corner chairs for adults and two smaller chairs for children.
The result is a flexible apartment which can accommodate a range of activities but effortlessly revert to a luminous, serene, contemplative foil for the stimulating environment of New York City. Designed in association with Maya Lin Studio.
Two existing West Chelsea industrial buildings were combined and renovated to provide temporary facilities for the exhibition, education, and production of new media artworks. An open atrium, enclosed at by glass and rear projection film, was introduced at the entrance to the facility by removing a section of the roof between existing steel beams. Projected images on the atrium screen combined with installations within the atrium and views into the gallery itself create a highly animated zone of overlapping activity at the entrance to this facility.
In order to provide more sources of natural light for the tall pyramidal living room, the volume of the vault of the dormer windows at the third level is extruded in through the dormer window on one side of the penthouse, across the entire width of the third level, and out the window on the opposite side.
This linear volume intersects with the sloping surfaces at the pyramidal living room volume, creating voids through the light from the dormers spills in to reach both the bedroom and the living space below.
A shutter slides across the dormer volume to provide privacy when the bedroom is in use.
In order to take greater advantage of their spacious rear yard and existing swimming pool, the owners of this three-bedroom, split-level house wished to renovate the existing Kitchen and Dining Room and add a new Living Room to the rear of the house.
The design of the addition abandons both the doctrinaire modernist practice of making a clear separation between traditional house and modern addition and the post-modernist strategy of directly mimicking the original building. Instead the original house transforms into a distorted reflection of itself.
The addition has a deceptively simple, rectilinear plan. At roof level, however, the forms break out of the orthagonal. Three parallel steel beams skew vertically and horizontally across the addition to their points of intersection with the original house.
The white painted wood eave trim of the existing gambrel roof--which is the strongest feature of the original house—follows the skewed geometry of these beams into the addition. The eave line first folds up in a mirror image of the original roofline, and then skews in plan and section to create edge of the open, asymmetrically folded volume of the new Living Room. The facetted roofline allows the formerly dark attic area above the Kitchen and Dining Room to be opened to the rear yard and to the Dining and Family Rooms below. Continuous lead-coated copper cladding folds off the original house, over the ridges and valleys framed by the parallel beams, and down over the perimeter walls to grade level.
On the facades, the original cedar shingles give way to vertical cedar siding at the zone where new merges with old, and this gives way to steel sash windows and metal siding as the new enclosure folds away form the original house. The precise point where old and new construction meet is blurred. The result of this design strategy is a grafted, mutated, hybrid extrapolation of the familiar forms of the original building.
The kitchen and bathroom, separated by a plane of laminated glass, were positioned at the windowless end of this deep and narrow loft space. This configuration allows daylight to filter into the bathroom. In the evening the glowing glass wall illuminates the interior end of the loft.
The simple flush surfaces and precisely resolved volumes --rendered in elm, walnut, pietra cardosa, schist, and plaster-- belie the intricately transformable room relationships and fully integrated electronic systems embedded in this full-floor Park Avenue apartment.
The apartment is accessed off the private elevator vestibule. Delineated as a simple volume of elm veneer, the interior foyer provides access to an ample coat closet, a wood paneled powder room, cabinets for gloves, umbrellas, mail, keys, and a schist bench for removing shoes before storing them in the drawers below, as well as access to the kitchen and service entrance.
A wide doorway leads to the Living Room which occupies the center of the floor and enjoys ample light from the Park Avenue facade. Discretely concealed in the Living Room is an invisible five-channel projection television system; a touch screen brings down blackout shades along with a projector mounted above the ceiling and a projection screen mounted in the elm-veneered soffit of the dining room. Right, left and center channel speakers are located in the Service credenza which also serves as a sideboard for the dining area. The Dining Area is defined by and enveloping volume of elm veneer, concealing cabinets for china and silver and a discrete entrance from the kitchen and service area.
At one end of the Living Room, the adjacent Library and Media Room can function as a semi-private extension of the living spaces, or as a fully private expansion of the adjacent Master Bedroom. A huge trackless cantilevered sliding door separates the Living Room from the Library and Media Room. A wrap around workstation folds discretely into the wall and a huge rotating media wall pivots to allow viewing from the Master Bed, the Library seating area, or the Library workstation.
At the opposite end of the Living Room, a small office workstation also folds against the wall, allowing this room to expand the public entertaining space along the full Park Avenue side of the building. A sliding door and a compact adjacent bathroom allows this space to function as a separate bedroom for short term guests.
The apartment also features two children's bedrooms with a shared playroom and bathroom between, and ingeniously concealed pantry and laundry areas off the kitchen and breakfast area.
Designed in association with Maya Lin Studio.
David Hotson Architect acted as the executive architect on the renovation of the offices of the Secretary General and President of the United Nations, located immediately behind the main podium of the UN General Assembly building in New York. This project was designed in association with INLAY, a team of young Swiss artists and architects who won a national competition to design the gift of the Swiss Government to the United Nations on the occasion of Switzerland's joining the UN as a full member.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan presided over the dedication of the office suite at the beginning of the UN General Assembly in September 2004.