Chelsea Modern
This 12 story 47-unit condominium is located in the heart of New York City’s Chelsea district. This is an industrial area that has recently become home to the city’s contemporary art scene, with many of its buildings converted into galleries, museums and cafes. At Chelsea’s western edge, the site is near the High Line and the Hudson River. This new building will occupy a mid-block lot flanked by photo studios and galleries. An important consideration was that the building should contribute to the artistic energy of the neighborhood. The zoning requires that the building have housing on the ground floor, a regulation that counters the potential for the base of the building to contribute to a vital street life. Our solution is to establish what we call gallery units at the ground floor. The street wall is translucent glass channels, a material similar to the frosted glass gallery fronts that line the nearby streets. These duplex units connect to lower level galleries with an eight-foot wide glass sidewalk bringing natural light to the lower level. Above the base, the building is divided into five horizontal glass bands. These bands zig-zag along the face of the property, each one with a different profile thus reinforcing the building’s horizontality, while absorbing the setbacks. The building is experienced incrementally The zig-zags consist of blue tinted curtain wall interspersed with random clear glass operable windows. This strategy allows operable windows to occur anywhere they need to be, and to conform to the interior building spaces. The units are conceived as flexible spaces that can adopt varying degrees of privacy. The partitions separating the rooms along the façade can retract to expand the zig-zag wall within each apartment. The owner can choose greater or less separation depending on their lifestyle requirements, while still allowing a traditional apartment configuration where desired. Outdoor space, a rare commodity for NYC housing was an important design consideration. Beyond the gallery units’ private gardens is a large community garden space.


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