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Lofty Perspective

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Featured Company: Steven Harris Architects - Location: New York, New York - Project Type: Residence - Project Name: Tribeca Penthouse

Photos by Scott Frances / OTTO, ottoarchive.com 

By Emma Janzen

Not many people have the luxury of spectacular New York City views, so when presented with the positioning of this Tribeca penthouse, Steven Harris Architects knew that it had to pull out all the stops. The family home spans from the 27th through 29th floors of a building without many tall neighbors, “So they wanted to realize its potential to become a light-filled space with a commanding view of the city,” says firm partner Steven Harris.

What are your favorite parts of the penthouse design?

The design elements that make this space unforgettable are the double-height window in the living area, the suspended stair, and the rooftop pavilion, which features an enclosed gym with sliding windows and a grassy terrace.

How did the double-height window work its way into the design?

It epitomizes the design objective to open the apartment to the light and the views. We replaced all of the existing fenestration with new windows that maximized the glass area and lacked a central mullion, as this would have interfered with the views. Along these lines, the double-height window is the largest window of all and frames the historic Woolworth Building, as well as much of the southern tip of Manhattan. Light floods through the window at all times of day, brightening the entire space.

What challenges arose out of including such a large window in the space?

It would have been immensely risky, not to mention complicated, to crane the panes and window hardware up to the 27th floor of the building, especially because the building has multiple setbacks. Instead, we designed each of the window components to fit within the building’s freight elevators. They were brought up in the elevators and installed on scaffolding that was attached to the side of the building like a barnacle. It was quite a feat!

Conditioning Complications

Incorporating such a substantial window into a penthouse on the 27th floor took more than just figuring out how to install the glass panes. Becht Engineering, the building-solutions company hired for the project, also provided “adequate heating and cooling for the area where the large window was installed,” says principal Laurie Becht, “while working within the limitations of the existing building’s infrastructure.”

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