Posts tagged with "Residential Architecture":

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Suchi Reddy designs an art-filled home as lush as its surroundings in Miami Beach

When Suchi Reddy, founder of New York–based Reddymade Design, was tasked with redesigning a 12,000-square-foot home in Miami Beach, Florida, she learned that the job would involve not only designing the space, but also helping the client curate an extensive contemporary art collection. Situated on Sunset Island, the home is affectionately known as the “Sweet Spot,” and Reddy’s vision was a careful balance of architecture, art, and design.

The 1939 waterfront house was built by a Cuban sugar baron in a hybrid style of Caribbean colonial and Hollywood regency. Reddy’s design transformed the estate into a comfortable contemporary home that also showcases the client’s art collection. Each space was carefully designed with that collection in mind, with additional work introduced by Reddy, including pieces by Gerhard Richter, Marina Abramovic, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Erin Shirreff, Kate Shepherd, and Barry X Ball. The architecture plays directly with the art—for example, the curving main staircase winds around a 17-foot-long light installation by artist Pae White, chosen by Reddy precisely for the space.

Throughout the six-bedroom, eight-and-a-half-bath home, each room was treated as a separate design opportunity. “Part of the challenge was that every room is fairly large, and to create intimacy and comfort within a large space can be quite a difficult task,” Reddy said. “I took a sculptural approach to designing the spaces as a response. Each room was conceived as a ‘gallery’ of sorts, with curated objects, furniture, and art.” 

As would be expected of such a project, the detailing of each space is meticulous. From elaborate molding to a variety of floor finishes, every surface is considered. In some cases, Reddy worked with existing elements. “The lounge near the bar had walls with plaster palm trees—not a staple of modern design strategies,” she explained. “I decided to treat them as texture that was filled out by the curtains between them, and change the focus to the center of the room by creating a circular seating area that becomes a focal point, drawing you through the axis of the house.”

A major portion of the design was the choice of furniture. The dining room features a floating glass table designed by Poetic Lab. Another room centers around a thick telescope glass coffee table by KGBL. Colorful textiles play a key role in many of the spaces. In the living room, sculptural furniture is clad in bright African wax-print fabrics, one of Reddy’s own passions. “My Indian heritage gives me a very deep appreciation of textiles and texture,” said Reddy. “And that love informs every space, not with an Indian influence, but with a sensibility for spaces that feel sensual.”

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In a Seattle neighborhood of traditional family homes, Heliotrope Architects create a modern abode using local materials

In a hip and funky part of Capitol Hill—Seattle’s answer to Brooklyn—sits one new home that is unlike the others. Amid the surrounding sea of bungalow and cottage-style homes is a new residence designed by Seattle and-Portland-based Heliotrope Architects. With its stained-cedar facade and abstract gable roof, it is contemporary yet quietly different, its boldness found in soft details, a monochromatic color palette, and honest materials.

An engineer and an artist—the former an online-retailer employee and the latter a graduate of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design—initially reached out to Heliotrope for the project. The couple had big plans to create a home on an empty mid-block lot (the former cottage-style home on the lot was razed) that could house a shared art studio space and feel airy, light, and cheerful.

The interiors take inspiration from white-walled contemporary art galleries, providing a neutral backdrop to a clean, clutter-free space filled with smart furnishings and Arne Jacobsen lighting fixtures. “The approach is not indulgent,” said Heliotrope co-founder and principal Mike Mora. “It’s relatively modest.”

White-painted sheetrock adds tranquility and calmness without feeling sterile. There are Northwestern myrtlewood floors in the peripheral spaces and wood-look tile and concrete flooring (with radiant heat) in the main living areas. The kitchen features custom cabinetry and walnut butcher-block counters, and the living room has custom bookshelves, all crafted by local builder Dovetail (known for building out local Seattle eateries like Joule and Mezcaleria Oaxaca). Ample glazing and skylights bring daylight inside, valuable in a region that can have nine months of cloud cover each year.

“It’s not just a two-story box,” said Mora, explaining why they focused on keeping the house low instead of maximizing the building envelope.

There is a thoughtful balance and unity between contemporary and warm, indoor and outdoor, public and private. As Mora explained, the design relies on a checkerboard layout—a careful juxtaposition between the interior and two ground-level gardens that help distribute natural light throughout the home (there’s also a rooftop garden as well). The master suite is split between two levels: The master bedroom is on the upper floor and looks over the double-height artist studio, while the master bath downstairs includes a custom Japanese soaking tub and cedar countertops. The guest suite lies underneath the gable roof, separated from the master suite.

In the end, Heliotrope was driven by its clients’ close connection to design. “Physical objects are important to them,” said Mora. In fact, the couple is so meticulously organized that the house required just five minutes of staging before the photographer came to shoot this feature.

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Breuer-inspired Los Angeles house turns old split-level conventions upside down

The Los Angeles Design Group (LADG) recently completed work on their Armstrong Residence, a 1,894-square-foot renovation of an existing, split-level single family house in Los Angeles’s Silverlake neighborhood. The house's massing is directly inspired by Marcel Breuer’s former Whitney Museum in New York City, except that instead of jutting out over a busy Manhattan street, the Armstrong House instead steps out along its back facade, mimicking the slope of a gentle hill located behind the house. Along the street front, an inset-bay window—Breuer’s streetside eye juts out from the structure—interrupts the otherwise monolithic, charred cedar wood exterior. The front window is contained within an overhanging car port and its panes are torqued to align perpendicularly with the nearby Silverlake Reservoir. On the back side of the house, a projecting oculus is similarly torqued and arranged here, in parallel with the slope. Both windows are an attempt, according to the LADG principals Andrew Holder and Claus Benjamin Freyinger, to “interiorize” exterior landscape features as elements of interior scenography. Along areas where the exterior envelope is broken, like along the lids of the oculus or the planes of a stepped-back, third-floor facade, the wood siding shifts to a natural finish. The house is designed as an “upside down house,” organized with a large, clear-span living room at the top floor with two levels containing two bedrooms, bathrooms, a study, and a laundry room located below. The new top floor acts like a hat over the existing spaces. The living room organization, much like the original split-level design, maximizes the house’s viewshed toward the reservoir. The space is organized around its views, with a built-in kitchen assembly on one short end of the rectangular great room, and a relaxed seating area located opposite. The areas between these spaces are animated through the presence of a pair of operable window-walls that open onto a generous exterior terrace. The indoor-outdoor living room—its front wall pulled back from the facade and clad in naturally-finished cedar—looks out over the surrounding hillsides and reservoir.
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Pedro&Juana’s Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss show off their new apartment in Mexico City

This article appears in AN Interior's sixth edition—if you're not a subscriber, there's still time to buy it on newsstands! See our list of stores here.

Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss, of Mexico City–based Pedro&Juana, met in 2005 while attending SCI-Arc (the Southern California Institute of Architecture). The pair then spent about four years at Jorge Pardo Sculpture (JPS) in L.A. They launched Pedro&Juana in 2012, after moving to Mexico City from Mérida, Mexico, where Pardo had been building a hacienda. In the years since, the firm has developed a series of architecture- and furniture-driven designs, including installations for the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), 2016 Design Miami showcase, and an upcoming design for the Commons, a multiuse engagement space at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In all of their projects, they furnish public areas with furniture of their own design, imbuing utilitarian spaces with a joyful energy and effervescent wit. Those sensibilities—and some of those furniture pieces—are fully realized throughout the pair’s recently renovated, 1,200-square foot Mexico City apartment.

“We kind of just did it the way we wanted to,” Ruiz Galindo said, describing the radical renovations the pair made to their fanciful apartment in the city’s Colonia Juárez neighborhood. The residence is located in a two-story, 176-unit neoclassical building built in 1913 as housing for the administrative staff of a local tobacco company called El Buen Tono.

The apartment had a long history of deferred maintenance and disjointed alterations that allowed the designers to reprogram the spaces as they saw fit. “We eradicated hallways and, typologically speaking, went back in time,” Reuss said. The flip was simple: Service areas were consolidated and modernized in the front of the apartment, while bedrooms were moved to the back. The unit’s two patio spaces were revamped too, with one receiving a wooden deck and the other a masonry floor. The wooden deck sits above an open basement level designed to passively cool the unit. To access the basement, Ruiz Galindo and Reuss added a new spiral staircase made from salvaged wooden beams left over from the construction. “That basement can be a problem. In our neighborhood the city sinks between 10 and 15 centimeters every year,” Reuss said, explaining Colonia Juárez’s extra-porous subterranean landscape. When it rains, the apartment’s basement sometimes floods as a result.

The main bedroom’s floor was replaced. There, the designers painted the new floors white to match the walls and ceilings of the room. A low, wide bed fills a space shared with a rocking chair and a lamp prototype leftover from their days at JPS. A nearby bathroom is decorated with brick checkerboard floors and a colorful array of citrus-hued tiles. The kitchen, simply articulated and looking out over the masonry floor courtyard, features built-in cabinetry and wooden countertops. Water damage from semi-seasonal flooding left the original pine floors in the dining room rotted through, so Ruiz Galindo and Reuss replaced them. The new pine floors match the casework, everything a crisp hue of light golden brown. Deeply recessed French doors cut into the exterior masonry walls of the room, opening out onto a shared courtyard. The doors, studded with divided lights and paneling, like the wide sweeps of crown molding above, echo the Beaux Arts provenance of the building.

The rest is a mix of contemporary objects and hand-me-downs: utilitarian bracketed bookshelves, prototype chairs and leftover lamps from the CAB installation, a pair of cabriole-leg chairs upholstered in yak wool. Stacks of tiny objects abound too, including groupings of the firm’s Maceta ceramic pot, a stackable vessel made of inverted, symmetrical cones of clay. These objects, Reuss said, are “the residues and leftover prototypes, extras that [over time] started to populate our house.”

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Iconic José Oubrerie-designed Miller House hits the market

One of Kentucky’s most iconic homes is now on the market. The Miller House, designed by Le Corbusier protégé José Oubrerie, is listed for $550,000. That price is nearly half of what the home was sold for in 2008, making this a tempting bargain. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, the single-family home is noted for the complex way in which the interior spaces interact. Held together in a monolithic concrete frame, the home is comprised of three separate dwellings. This allows for family members to each have their own space while living in the same house. The original clients were an older couple, who wanted a home where their grown children could come and stay. Critics have often cited this as a commentary on the role of architecture in mediating family relationships. The house’s suburban setting seems to only exaggerate this point. Completed in 1991, the Miller House is filled with intricate detailing. Woodwork, steel, and concrete are mixed freely throughout, with bright pops of color being used in surprising ways. Nothing in the house seems typical. Its 5,000 square feet are sliced and divided into rooms, lofted spaces, bridges, balconies, and atria. The nine-square grid plan the house is based on is nearly completely illegible thanks to all of these unconventional meetings of space and material. The house has nothing of the austerity so often associated with modernism, despite its very clear modernist pedigree. José Oubrerie was part of Le Corbusier’s studio in the early 1960s. Since then, he has held numerous faculty and administrative roles at different universities. In the late 1980s, he was dean of the University of Kentucky College of Design. In the 1990s he taught and was chair of the architecture department at the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University. He has also taught at the New York Institute of Technology, Columbia University, The Cooper Union, the Polytechnic University of Milan, and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beux-Arts. Currently he is a visiting professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The listing also includes a virtual tour of the entire house that is well worth checking out.
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Made to maximize views of L.A., this hillside house builds on midcentury modern traditions

Given Los Angeles–based architects Unruh Boyer’s expertise rehabilitating iconic midcentury modern homes, it is easy to see that the firm’s Rome House, perched on the hills of Los Angeles’s Glassell Park neighborhood, follows in the tradition of L.A.’s visionary residences.

Except that rather than designing an object to be admired from the valleys below, Unruh Boyer has designed a home that revolves around experiencing the outdoors from within the house. The 2,400-square-foot residence is designed around a collection of viewsheds that are used to anchor rooms to the city and nature beyond. These views can be accessed directly via the 320 square feet of balconies or simply through visual connections made from large casement and picture windows.

Not that the structure isn’t nice to look at itself. Partners Trish Boyer and Antony Unruh spent the last few years crafting this comfortable hillside residence. Clad in patterned, bronze-colored bonderized metal and punched openings suited perfectly to Boyer and Unruh’s tastes, the property is actually a speculative development—a problematic condition. “Basically, we designed the home we would want for ourselves, however, the unintended consequence is that it is difficult to part with.” 

The home’s spaces flow into one another in a familiar arrangement: A street-side garage is flanked by a front door that leads to an entry foyer and kitchen with an expansive, airy living room located just beyond, a few steps below the kitchen level. The kitchen, outfitted with utilitarian IKEA cabinets and Carrera marble countertops, opens out onto a side porch and terrace that leads down the sloping site. Floors in the kitchen-adjacent dining room are made up of rough-cut pieces of black slate, with a triumphal hearth separating the kitchen and living room with built-in wood shelving. The living room culminates in a pair of 7-by-10-foot barn-style exterior glass doors that open out onto a wraparound deck overlooking a terraced hillside planted with succulents and pepper trees.

The rest of the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home unfolds on the floor above, accessed by a stylized staircase made of Glulam construction. That floor is made up of a divisible two-bedroom configuration on one side that features a large, sliding room divider—an ode to the late, midcentury architect Gregory Ain, whose office Unruh Boyer currently uses as its own. The architects envision the space being used as either a pair of bedrooms or as a bedroom and office suite. Floors throughout the level are constructed out of glossy oriented-strand board. The master bedroom on the opposite side of the second floor features built-in closets and a large picture window overlooking the outstretched hills of Northeast Los Angeles.

Resources

Structural Engineering: Eric McCullum Engineering 310-944-0898

Metal Siding: The Tin Shop 323-263-4893 Framing: Amir Hassan, ACG Construction, Inc. 650-345-2082
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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson reinterprets the chalet for Lake Tahoe

San Francisco–based architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) have completed work on the Mountainside Stellar Residences and Townhomes, a ski-in, ski-out complex of residences and townhomes located on the slopes of Northstar, an upscale community located beside Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border.

The project, designed in partnership with developers West Partners and Mountainside Partners, consists of six detached residences and 11 clustered townhomes, each designed to maximize views of the surrounding landscape and to operate on a year-round basis. The homes represent an attempt by the firm to reinterpret the upscale ski chalet for a contemporary area and are designed with sustainability and technology at their forefront and are built to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Located amid a grove of Jeffrey pine and Douglas fir trees, the detached residences are themselves clustered on a compact site overlooking ski slopes and a mountainside lift, with the homes visually grouped together by their mirrored floor plan configurations. Each 3,400-square-foot structure is entered from above and features a double-height, upper-level great room living area topped by a large, wood-clad roof overhang. The overhang shields an outdoor loggia that extends from the indoor living areas and is supported by a simply articulated post-and-beam assembly. A black-stained cedar wood shingled wall separates the living wing of each home from the bedroom areas, one of which is a master suite. That suite is cantilevered slightly over the ski slope and is wrapped on three sides by floor-to-ceiling glass walls. All of this rests above a blonde cedar wood siding-wrapped base containing two smaller bedrooms, a guest master suite, and a media and entertainment room.

The townhomes, each roughly 2,200 square feet in size, cascade down a gentle slope, except here, instead of having shifts in facade geometry indicate different aspects of program within a single home, the townhomes shift in geometry as ownership changes from one unit to the next. The clusters of paired townhomes—with the odd, eleventh townhome existing as a freestanding structure— are each topped by one of two halves of a thickened, sloping gabled roof plane. These roofs extend beyond the exterior walls of each unit and are wrapped in the same blonde cedar wood as the single-family homes. The roof planes turn down along the shared party wall between the units, giving each side a more individualized expression and massing. Like the detached homes, the townhouse units also feature groundfloor outdoor spaces that connect to an interior great-room configuration, except that here, bedrooms are located on the floor above. Each structure is clad in the same mix of blonde, gray, and black cedar planks.

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Douglas fir and careful detailing fill this Michigan retreat designed by Wheeler Kearns

Along the shores of southwest Michigan’s Upper Jeptha Lake sits one family’s home away from home. Created in an ongoing collaboration between the owners and Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns since the 1990s, the retreat is a cluster of four small buildings. The relationship between Wheeler Kearns and the client goes well beyond this single project—their long history of building together in Chicago created a rapport that is exercised here.

Based around an existing cottage that Wheeler Kearns remodeled, the Upper Jeptha Lake Retreat is defined as much by its interior spaces as the spaces in between the structures. Enclosing a yard and pool, two outbuildings and a forest provide an intimate entertainment area. These multiple outdoor spaces can be used for family dining or large group events.   

The latest addition to the project completes the campus as a year-round multi-generational getaway.

One of the two new buildings is a guesthouse for two families. The 960-square-foot structure includes two bedroom suites, a small kitchen, and a communal area. An intimate loft space sleeps two with 360-degree views of the forest and lake—a grandkids’ paradise. Covered patios allow for more private or group eating. The second building houses an exercise room, garage, and a patio for grilling. A small boathouse sits at the water’s edge.

Each structure’s form is reminiscent of the other, but they were not designed to perfectly match. Instead they are tied together with carefully curated material and detail palettes. The entire campus is painted in a cool gray that recalls the bark of surrounding beech trees. In contrast to the calm exteriors, the interiors are rich and warm. Douglas fir is used from veneered plywood to wide planks, and lines most surfaces. Hidden appliances and efficient layouts make the most of small spaces. Interior furnishings throughout the sunlit space, such as bright fabrics and classic modern pieces, were chosen by interiors firm RDK Design.

“The clients are very involved,” explained Wheeler Kearns principal Mark Weber. “They would give us programmatic elements, but would allow us to compose the best scheme for the site.” The result is a retreat specifically catered to the needs of multiple generations of a family coming together away from the city bustle.

Resources

Windows Eagle Window

Lighting “Munkegaard LED” Louis Poulsen

“The Egg” Holophane

“BeveLED mini” USAI

Faucets Hansgrohe

Toilets and sinks Kohler

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2016 Best of Design Award for Residential > Single Unit: Underhill by Bates Masi + Architects

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it’s grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you. 2016 Best of Design Award for Residential > Single Unit: Underhill Architect: Bates Masi + Architects Location: Matinecock, NY

When the clients chose to leave New York City for the suburbs, they wanted their new lifestyle to retain a strong sense of community. Inspired by the tenants of simplicity, humility, and inner focus espoused by the Quaker history of the surrounding community, the house is characterized by a series of modest gabled structures, each of which turn inward toward a central courtyard. The surrounding plantings, metal ceilings, oak floors, and ceiling boards radiate outward from each central courtyard to further emphasize this geometry.

Contractor Qualico Contracting Corporation

Landscape Architect TL Studio Landscape Architecture Wine Storage, Refrigerator, and Freezer Sub-Zero Gas Range Wolf Kitchen Sink Franke

Honorable Mention, Residential > Single Unit: Wythe Corner House

Architect: Young Projects Location: Brooklyn, NY

Behind the perforated and corrugated zinc of its exterior, this renovation of a 1900s Williamsburg townhouse radically remakes the interior to create a double-height living room and a hovering addition that allows for parking underneath.

Honorable Mention, Residential > Single Unit: Fox Hall

Architect: BarlisWedlick Architects Location: Hudson Valley, NY

This simple, barn-inspired structure is the centerpiece of a sustainable compound that includes a rehabilitated barn, a natural pool, and a three-story screened tower with a wood-burning sauna.

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2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Residential: Clinton Hill Courtyard House by O’Neill McVoy Architects

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it’s grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you. 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Residential: Clinton Hill Courtyard House Architect: O’Neill McVoy Architects Location: Brooklyn, NY

To turn this dark and narrow historic carriage house into an open, inviting home for a young family, O’Neill McVoy Architects created two light volumes within the structure that would bring sun and nature into the center of the house. The first, cut from the second floor, illuminates the master bedroom, library, and living area below, while the second creates a central garden on the first floor. White-stained plywood accents and a perforated stairwell help create a feeling of expansiveness within the home.

Structural Engineer Robert Silman Associates

Contractor Harper Design Build Stairwell Fabrication B Fabrication Glass Courtyard Enclosure Duratherm Windows Skylights Wasco Skylights and Supreme Skylights

Honorable Mention, Interior > Residential: 2902 at the W Residences

Architects: Page with Furman + Keil Architects Location: Austin, TX

Inspired by Carlo Scarpa’s interest in color and materiality and his fascination with vertical edges, the team sought to create a series of intimate spaces that flow into one another with a pared-down aesthetic, muted tones, and luxurious materials.

Honorable Mention, Interior > Residential: Garrison Residence

Architects: Patrick Tighe Architecture Location: Redondo Beach, CA

Located one block from the Pacific Ocean, this three-story house has a simple massing punctuated with articulated openings that frame views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.

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A very ’70s artist’s loft is transformed into an elegant home for a growing Manhattan family

Except for the rarified homes of the rich and famous (or just plain rich), “spacious” is a relative term in New York real estate. Finding enough space for a growing family can be a challenge, so many choose to stay in place and maximize the square footage they have, any way they can.

For a loft on Jane Street, on a prime West Village corner, one family commissioned Architecture in Formation (AiF) to design a space that was warm, refined, and practical, and that took advantage of the 13-foot ceilings to compensate for comparatively little floor space.

”Before our renovation, the space was this classic hodgepodge 1970s artist’s studio that featured all the horrible tropes from that period,” said principal Matthew Bremer. The family needed room for more members, and once the ’70s touches were removed, the pre-war, former manufacturing building offered plenty of flexibility for a mutable layout with ample storage.

“The space is a celebration of storage and display, and articulates the positive relationship between the two—it’s 95 percent storage, five percent display,” Bremer said. The overall design stems from the white-accented arched living room window, which floods common areas with sunlight. Steel columns and beams are accented by raw brick and semi-industrial touches, like the dining room light switches, while teal counter-height chairs and a dark blue island add a subtle warmth that complements the lacquered cabinets. The family actually cooks (“unlike some of my Manhattan clients”) and entertains, so kitchen appliances and fixtures are top-of-the-line functionally, not just showpieces.

Taking advantage of the soaring ceilings, the architects were able to create a lofted mezzanine space—for sleeping, storage, or studying—above the bathrooms and closets that is accessed from a ship’s ladder in the master bedroom. The transition from public to private space is grounded by a pocket door between the master bedroom that allows the space to merge with the main living areas, if desired. At the ground level, the apartment is scaled to children, as well as four-legged family members—there are dog bowls built into the kitchen island. From every angle, the 1,500-square-foot home expresses coolness and subtle contrast in an extraordinary volume.

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AN Exclusive: See Naho Kubota’s stunning photos of Young Projects’ masterclass in materials

Receiving light from all four sides of a Manhattan dwelling is a chance that seldom comes along. So Bryan Young, principal-in-charge of New York studio Young Projects, took full advantage with the Gerken Residence. Occupying the 13th and 14th floors of a historic cast-iron Tribeca building, the apartment’s 1,500-square-foot rooftop offers downtown views—notably of Frank Gehry’s 8 Spruce Street—while its roughly 6,000 interior square feet host a lush cutout courtyard and a collection of private, yet fluidly connected spaces.

Inside, the most eye-catching element is a polished stainless-steel screen found on the main floor. Divided into segments, it can be moved from one side of the building to the other, creating a partition across the space. Cuts made in the twisted, shimmering steel create a visually semipermeable membrane. Subsequently, guests can have restricted or open views depending on the position of the screen: It provides more privacy and opacity when viewed from the elevator entry, while it is more open and transparent when viewed from the living room.

This divider, Young explained, is one of four key spatial elements that organize the program on the 14th floor residence. Three of these—the fireplace, the courtyard, and the screen—can be found arranged around the fourth element, described by Young as the “plaster core,” a sensuously textured volume that houses the back-of-house programmatic elements and allows the rest of the apartment to be more open.

The defining feature of the core, however, is its surface. At first glance it appears to be draped in a frozen, CNC-milled curtain, but upon closer inspection it becomes clear that the material is handmade plaster. With no indication of joinery, the surface’s exquisite hand-detailing of serrated and curvaceous forms, augmented by light and shadow, produce a slightly strange effect, one Young describes as “tectonically unclear.”

Like many research projects in the office, the concept was born from a series of questions about the possibilities of new materials and the process of making.

Young emphasized that the final product is not pulled plaster, but rather an arrangement of plaster casts. To create the effect, Young said, six “master molds” were created using a variation on the traditional technique used to make crown moldings. Here, a custom designed profile, or “knife” and “horse” were moved back and forth laterally, pulled along the length of the custom designed rail to form the plaster in three dimensions. Done by hand, the technique produced casts where serrated edges peeled away in an S-shape, giving way to a contrasting smooth surface. These were then used to create the six master molds, which were used to make the casts that clad the core.

To ensure the monolithic quality Young desired, each cast rose to the same height on either side, allowing them to join in a vertically arranged running bond. “There is a continuity and discontinuity that is rationalized across the entire surface,” said Young. He added that the analog, hands-on method contributed to the sense of material ambiguity that the plaster creates. “It was interesting for us to take a centuries-old technique and rethink the manner in which that process is defined.”

The plaster allows the core’s interior facade to respond to the surrounding spatial elements. More dramatic, “aggressive” casts were employed on the volume’s double-height spaces, most notably by the stairway, which is exposed to direct sunlight, while less articulated, “softer” casts were distributed elsewhere.

The courtyard or “glass core” lies opposite the plaster core and bathes it and the stairwell in light.

“As you move around the house, what initially reads as a negative element starts to read as a positive volume,” Young said of the courtyard. Working with landscape design firm Future Green Studio, it is filled with vegetation that hangs from the rooftop. Young intends for this visual connection to strengthen over time as the greenery piles over, offering a rare dose of thriving interior vegetation in an urban apartment.

The spatial organization of an interior courtyard juxtaposed with a solid, materially ambiguous interior wall gives the projects its raison d’être: The courtyard’s plants glow with light, questioning familiar notions of interior and exterior, much like the transformation of plaster gives new characteristics and life to seemingly familiar materials, taking all of it almost into the realm of the unreal.