Grzywinski+Pons design 5+5 storied apartment block in NY
Constructing high-rise buildings, especially for residential purposes, seems to be out of fashion now. In narrow, overcrowded, small, urban lots, however, building towards the sky is still the only way to gain more footprint. 120 Allen Street, New York, was a parcel that could be described exactly with those adjective mentioned earlier, so it was an obvious choice to design a high-rise structure to accommodate 16 furnished studios, 4 furnished apartments, and a downstairs commercial space. The building itself, as well as the interior and most of the furniture was executed by Grzywinski + Pons, who adhered both to the physical characteristics of the lot and the architectural language of the gritty neighbourhood.
The narrow parcel goes block-through, meaning it has two street-facades, and the architects went for a bifurcated design in order to create two distinct faces of the same structure. The side facing the narrower road is a 5-storied structure fitting in seamlessly with the nearby buildings, while the other end features 5 more stories build on the same base. This upper part was treated as a vertical augmentation of the neighbourhood’s topology, therefore it is clad with a different skin to the rest of the building.
With the lower part, while trying to avoid historicizing , the architects wanted to pay an homage to the architectural traditions of the road. Therefore they used handmade, coal-fired brick and adorned it with their very own designed masonry details. A key element of the overall facade is depthness, which is present here by the deeply framed glazing, which is crucial for mitigating solar heat gain.
The concept of depth is present on the upper volume in a different way. The zinc cladding is surrounded by a veil of louvers, that not only add a singular texture to the facade, but also serve as the balustrade of the balconies behind.
The interior architecture also speaks of industrial vibes, by exposing the steel structure wherever possible. Its strict coldness was softened by the warmth of luxurious furniture, creating a surprisingly cozy, intimate atmosphere for the location.
Photography: Nicholas Worley
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