A penthouse apartment in a stylish 1930s block on Central Park West has just been given a modern facelift by New York architects Daniel Schütz and Georg Windeck. The project is set in a handsome Art Deco structure originally created by celebrated American architect Emery Roth (1871 – 1948), complete with large windows and an expansive floor plan that spills out to a rear facing roof terrace.
Bought by New York couple to be converted into their family home, the apartment presented a challenge for the young architects; while the front windows offered a spectacular view, the decked terrace was placed at the rear of the property. Additionally, there was a number of fixed structural columns and plumbing stack locations the pair had to work around.
The architects' answer was to entirely rearrange the interior. ‘The new layout organizes the public areas along a diagonal that connects two distinct corner windows at opposite ends of the apartment,' explain Schütz and Windeck. ‘One faces Central Park, the other overlooks the Upper West Side.'
Cubic volumes, which do not necessarily follow the existing grid structure, enclose the bedrooms and bathrooms – including a guest room. Movable partitions made out of joinery or tailor made leather paneling by specialist Christina Z Antonio provide a flexible structure and pops of colour in a carefully framed composition that can be adapted to different views and arrangements, according to the various needs of daily family life.
Outside, a bespoke steel trellis on the terrace was inspired by the grid of the historic Art Deco steel windows on the original building. ‘This free standing structure creates a dematerialized inversion of the apartment’s masonry wall,' say the architects, highlighting how the original building's well-proportioned bones served as inspiration for this contemporary interpretation of a 20th century flat.
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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).
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