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Upper Eastside Townhouse / Michael K Chen Architecture

Upper Eastside Townhouse / Michael K Chen Architecture

© Alan Tansey © Alan Tansey © Alan Tansey © Alan Tansey + 45

Refurbishment  · 
New York, United States
  • Structural

    Buro Happold
  • MEP

    Buro Happold
  • Facade Engineering

    Buro Happold
  • Landscape Architecture

    Local Office Landscape Architecture
  • Lighting Design

    Brian Orter Lighting Design
  • Preservation Consultants

    Prudon and Partners
  • General Contractor

    IA Construction Management
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© Alan Tansey
© Alan Tansey

Text description provided by the architects. The reinvention of a badly degraded, but significant 1879 Neo-Grec townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side negotiates and balances the building’s history and context with a desire for a forward-looking, contemporary residence. This is accomplished largely through an exceptional attention to craft, augmented by digital methods for design, coordination, and a broadly collaborative approach.

Context
Context

The machine-produced decoration and crisp, incised ornamental surfaces that are characteristic of the Neo-Grec style were projected forward to a contemporary context, informing current and forward-looking processes of making like computer controlled milling and other contemporary manufacturing methods.

© Alan Tansey
© Alan Tansey
All plans
All plans
© Alan Tansey
© Alan Tansey

Conceived as both a family home and a setting for large-scale entertaining and events, the house is organized around multi-directional and multi-level circulation. Opportunities for light, air, and circulation to enliven the interior and exterior on the highly constrained site were developed through generous vertical openings and glazed double height spaces that emphasize the building’s grand proportions and create visual and spatial connections between floors.

Circulation
Circulation

Notable collaborations enabled by this design approach include a site-specific installation by artist Sarah Oppenheimer, integrated into the top floor of the building. Comprised of a flush walkable skylight, an aluminum manifold, and a front-silvered mirror, the artwork reflects a perpetually vertical slice of sky into the space of the main stair and library, and introduces a skewed angle into the overall geometry of the mid-block building, as well as a strong linkage between interior and exterior spaces that also informs the design of the rooftop penthouse, exterior spaces, and the rear facade.

© Alan Tansey
© Alan Tansey

The facade makes extensive use of sculpted terracotta elements, and incorporates a vertical garden, designed in collaboration with SUNY conservation botanists, that features a host of native woodland flora. Some plantings used are federally endangered species due to the impact of climate change, and are being propagated for the first time as a test case in urban conservation gardening. Intensive environmental analysis informed the geometry of the facade and planter elements which creates passively differentiated nano gradients of temperature, exposure, and moisture for a variety of native plantings.

Rear facade section
Rear facade section
© Alan Tansey
© Alan Tansey
Scheme
Scheme

Throughout the house, works of design by emerging and independent American designers and studios is integrated with significant works of modernist design from Italy, Scandinavia, and the United States. Much of the contemporary furniture was custom designed for the house primarily through designer commissions, including a number of custom pieces by the architects who are solely responsible for the project’s architecture as well its interior design.

© Alan Tansey
© Alan Tansey

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Project location

Address: New York, NY, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Upper Eastside Townhouse / Michael K Chen Architecture" 27 Jun 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/897045/upper-eastside-townhouse-michael-k-chen-architecture/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Alan Tansey

纽约上东区住宅改造 / Michael K Chen Architecture

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