East Village Penthouse

New York, NY

The project is a gut ren­o­va­tion and expan­sion of a pent­house apart­ment in the East Vil­lage neigh­bor­hood of Man­hat­tan. The own­ers, a young fam­ily with 3 chil­dren, needed to add bed­rooms but more impor­tantly, wanted to cre­ate open and invit­ing shared spaces for all mem­bers. Although the com­bi­na­tion of two apart­ments would have cre­ated a sub­stan­tially larger home, the team decided to cre­ate a small rental unit and use the remain­der for the new design. More

From the begin­ning, the own­ers wanted to pre­serve the light and ven­ti­la­tion that crosses north-south in the old apart­ment. Not only do they have beau­ti­ful city views, but com­ing from Europe, they loved the abil­ity to open their win­dows for fresh air. The lay­out of the design by keep­ing the com­mon spaces along this axis achieves their goal. Even the pri­vate wing was laid out in a series of bed­rooms allow­ing air and light to flow through to the very far ends of the apartment.

The promi­nent theme of curv­ing forms, soft­ened cor­ners and angled walls is an abstracted rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the “flow of air and light”, the under­ly­ing struc­ture of the design. One’s eye is con­stantly mov­ing across sur­faces and mate­ri­als which makes the spaces “feel” more expan­sive and delim­ited. In some areas, the curvi­lin­ear forms are casu­ally intro­duced but in most cases, they obscure and hide columns and pipes. The only room which breaks from this for­mal order is the kitchen which the own­ers wanted to keep visu­ally “con­tained” so as not to dis­play clut­ter. We inter­preted this area as a kind of “bento box” with orga­nized con­tain­ers and shelves within an orthog­o­nal geometry.

Reit­er­at­ing the curvi­lin­ear forms are dis­crete light­ing design strate­gies. The soft, illu­mi­nated ceil­ing cove at the fam­ily room helps to “float” the ceil­ing plane. Sim­i­lar approaches are found in the kitchen ceil­ing cove and even the back­lit bath­room mir­rors which were cus­tom cut from sketches pro­vided by the owner’s and their children.