Located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, this 1300-square-foot townhouse was converted from a studio on the third floor to a triplex, combined with the adjoining duplex below.
In the renovation of this 12-foot-wide townhouse, our guiding principle was to improve the quality of light and air flowing throughout, to create an expansive feeling in an otherwise small and narrow space. The primary architectural challenge was to find a way to open up the house to allow light to pass through from the sky to the ground level. To do so, we needed to design a staircase which would not block out light, and which would also minimize the feeling of constantly having to run up and down floors in order to move between rooms.
This triplex townhouse consists of a garden-level living room, a master bedroom suite on the third floor, and a kitchen and dining area on the entry level. In order to create the feeling of a connected space in a multi-level townhouse, we designed a new, open staircase system which eases the transition between movement and rest. Our solution was a series of steps which cantilevered from the wall and floated towards the center of the space. The entry level and cellar were cut back from both sides of the garden wall, allowing for a double-story space which meets at a midway point. This solution reduces the feeling of the cellar’s position underground, and also mediates the transition between the middle and lower levels.
An angled skylight was added to the front portion of the third floor, which reveals a view of the trees hanging over the townhouse, framing the master bedroom suite from above, and also redirects and filters light down to the lower levels. Meeting with the natural light emanating from the all-glass facade in the rear, the townhouse also opens up into a garden, which connects nature and, “stretches from earth to the sky,” as written by Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space.
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