Located west of Soho in Manhattan, we were asked to add a significant addition to this existing townhouse from around 1900. We converted this 4 story townhouse into an 8-story one-family home. We addressed the challenge of nearly doubling the size of the townhouse by introducing a third volume: a lattice envelope functioning as a climatic skin, that also envelopes a series of exterior spaces such as balconies and roof decks.
This unifying, rectangular trellis envelope was designed in multiple patterns and densities. Made from a lightweight steel frame and folding panels clad with Trespa™ slats, this “smart climate envelope” serves as an adaptable perimeter of the building. It provides shading and variable levels of privacy. Like an intricate lacework dress, the sheathing changes character and appearance at different times of the day and night, and serves as both a filter and amplifier between the privacy of the house and the public streetscape.
In the rear of the building, a dramatic south-facing continuous window slot lights the glass elevator and 8-story black steel staircase, which connects all floors in one continuous movement. This highlights the sensation of extreme verticality and transforms mundane everyday tasks into a dynamic spatial experience. Several double height spaces give a different kind of connectivity to the space; allowing for views through, and light slots.