UN-UNE FLAT

This project consists on the renovation of a park-facing unit in the neighborhood of Morningside Heights in Manhattan. The building, originally an extended-stay hotel built in 1910, was converted after a few years into apartments to become one of the first Co-ops in the city. The unit itself was in need of a complete overhaul after the previous owners had lived in it for almost six decades.

Our strategy was based on deploying a number of carefully controlled operations or surgical interventions to achieve maximum spatial effect. This was accomplished through the efficient and intelligent reconfiguration of existing partitions, with the aim of creating a more open layout that improves spatial connections while preserving the original character of the unit. To that end, the linear sequence of rooms, each of which is accessed from the corridor, was maintained. The long walls along the hallway are activated on one side by artwork of various dimensions—installed in a French salon hanging style—, and on the other, by a series of storage closets and niches whose depth results from carving voids out of the thickness of the wall. The utilitarian quality of this elements is concealed behind large panels of marine-grade plywood that provide a seamless and continuous elevation. The axiality of the hallway is further emphasized through the rhythm created by surface-mounted light fixture cans installed on the ceiling that extend into the more social areas of the apartment. The kitchen, an independent room in the original layout, is turned into an open and central space that amplifies social interaction, enhancing the uniform distribution of daylight coming into the unit through the large windows. A floor-to-ceiling system of shelves serves as a spatial divider,  defining the area for a study that can double as a guest bedroom. This divider is punctured on both ends by two full-height openings—one a fixed-glass window and the other a glass sliding door—establishing a sequence of visually interconnected rooms, merging the study room, with the more social areas of the living space and open kitchen. 

Credits

Type: Residential Area: 800 sf Location: Manhattan, NY Year: 2017 Team: Julián Palacio, AIA; Juana Vasquez-Armstrong Photos: Miguel de Guzmán / imagensubliminal