Architect in ChargeMichele Busiri Vici
TeamMichele Busiri Vici, Clementina Ruggieri, Pino Pavese, Gabriela Bruno , Chase Kaars, Matteo Biasiolo
Text description provided by the architects. Our challenge for this project was to create spatial continuity within a narrow historic townhouse in the Upper West Side of New York City.
Our clients, a young couple with two small children, had always lived on a single floor New York apartment. Intrigued, yet uncertain of the different lifestyle their newly acquired 5 story townhouse had to offer, we proposed, in a similar manner modern day apartments do, a fluid and open space throughout the floors.
Our design intention was to recall the concept of a loft, in this case a vertical loft. To emphasize this feeling of ' openness', we had to work simultaneously on a horizontal and vertical plane.
Horizontally we enlarged the first two levels towards the rear garden and fully glazed the back facade to provide continuity between the interior and exterior. While vertically we designed a spacious and evolving staircase, around which the proposed program hinges and the five floors are connected. The staircase's white oak treads are laterally wrapped by a curved, pristine white solid parapet. At the lower levels, where the most public spaces are located, such as the entry hall, kitchen and living room, the staircase is very generous and exposes it's L-shape configuration to it's surrounding. While it winds up the upper floor, the configuration transforms and tightens into a U- shape to provide maximum floor area where the bedrooms, bathrooms and study spaces are located.
The stair ends on the fifth floor, which is a new addition that accommodates a private lounge where our clients can entertain their guests while having uninterrupted views of north and south Manhattan.