Photo © Paul Warchol

Inverted Warehouse/Townhouse

Dean/Wolf Architects

New York, New York
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The Inverted Warehouse/Townhouse consists of an addition to and a renovation of a TriBeCa loft. The existing traditional warehouse structure covers the entire lot with plenty of practical open space inside for former industrial uses, but very little outdoor space.

Design concept and solution:
The architects carved the roof open to admit light and air into the interior public spaces, inverting the conventional townhouse configuration to place the parlor floor—typically the floor accessed by the building’s front steps that houses the main living areas—on the top floor. The elevator opens to the main entry on this—the fifth—floor, and a series of descending gestures were designed to reinforce the upside-down organization. Three double-story volumes are excavated from the dark center of the deep warehouse floor plates to admit light throughout the house.

The architects hung Corten steel panels that drop shingle-style in layers that step continuously inward into the two upper courts. Frameless burgundy glass replaces some of the panels, creating openings that cascade from the top of the exterior garden down through the reading court. The pattern of these glass openings appears to float downward in a spiral. At the bottom of the reading court, a glass floor marks the point where the panels cut through the floor. The spiral comes to rest at the last shelf of the two-story steel shelving that descends into the playroom. To counterbalance these descending gestures, the glass of the garden court rises delicately toward the skyline, enclosing the rear wall of the penthouse living room as it rises upward. The glass doors at the front of this room slide fully open to draw the residents onto the garden deck and into the city. The fifth-floor kitchen and dining spaces are accessed by a single stair that rises to the penthouse living room. The descending route to the private bedrooms, playrooms, and study crosses beneath the glass floor of the fourth floor-reading court to provide glimpses back up through the gardens to the sky.

Total construction cost:

Dean/Wolf Architects
40 Hudson St., Penthouse
New York, NY 10013
T: 212.385.1170
F: 212.385.1174


February 2011
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