New York City, New York
The townhouse, originally built in 1918 and converted into an eight-unit apartment building in the Forties, was returned to its original use as a single-family residence. While maintaining the clients strong desire for privacy in their day-to-day lives and the ability to entertain in a relatively formal manner, the new house would also have to accommodate a significant painting, drawing, and sculpture collection, providing museum quality environmental and lighting control.
Following the demolition of the 1940s apartment conversion, all that remained of the original townhouse was the limestone facade. This left the reconfiguration of space open to new organizing principles. The house is designed around two vertically stacked courts. The upper court, open to the sky, provides a secluded outdoor garden around which the family spaces are arranged. The lower interior court, sky-lit from the upper court, contains the main stair and is the focus of the entry, dining room, living room, and library. Asymmetrical in plan and split in section, this lower court offers diagonal views to the city and sky, bringing daylight into what is conventionally the darkest and most internalized portion of a New York City townhouse. A gentle stair, with shallow rise to run ratio, allows easy ascent through the five main floors of the house.