TYPE: Development, Residential
Client: Bestrow Realty
West 121 Street
New York, NY
This new six-unit, 12,000 sq. ft. boutique condominium building is currently under construction in NYC’s Harlem neighborhood. The developer, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, purchased this empty lot in 1999 as part of a combined zoning lot with the adjacent tenement building. Preparations began in 2007 to develop a new building on the site, however the Great Recession delayed action until 2013 when Soluri Architecture (SA) was hired to prepare a zoning analysis and develop an initial concept design.
The project moved forward in 2014 when SA was hired to prepare drawings for submission to the DOB for approval. The review and approval process at the DOB was complicated due to the shared zoning lot with the adjacent tenement building, and these complications took almost a year to resolve, ultimately requiring an official Zoning Determination from the DOB. In December 2015, the New Building application was approved by the DOB and construction began in August 2016.
The developer sought to create a boutique condominium building that would stand out among the other new developments in the neighborhood, through a striking design that contrasts with the neighboring brick tenements and brownstones. Because most of the new development in the neighborhood is relatively generic and bland, the goal is that a unique, striking design would increase the appeal and value of the units.
DESIGN PROCESS & INTENT
The design process began with SA’s preparation of a zoning analysis. Because the adjacent tenement building was so large, it comprised a significant percentage of the combined zoning lot, allowing only a very small footprint for the proposed new building. This small footprint required creative “outside the box” thinking to fit all of the expected features within a new condo unit. This kind of creative thinking can be most visibly seen in the building’s angled and faceted facade, derived through a creative fusion of the zoning requirements and the need to maximize internal space where needed. Our space planning analysis showed that the most efficient and generous layouts were not rectangular, and therefore did not require a more typical flat facade. Because of this, we angled the facade to allow the area of each floor to be adjusted for a more efficient utilization, and further pushed out the facade in-front of the elevator shaft. This allowed us to add more floor area where it was needed most, and to reduce where it was less important. The facade was also angled back along its vertical axis to meet the zoning setback at 65 ft without the jog typically used to comply with this requirement.
The condominium is currently under construction and consists of six units: a ground floor 3-bedroom duplex at the base, a 3-bedroom duplex penthouse at the top; and four two-bedroom full-floor units in between. A combination of cove lighting and LED downlights will be used throughout, and the finishes will be simple, elegant, and warm. The project will target the mid-level luxury market for which there is currently a strong demand for new construction.
The project has begun to attract attention – it has been featured in articles in NYC’s The Real Deal and highlighted in the YIMBY blog on NYC real estate. As construction was beginning, the project won “Most Innovative New York Condominium Design” from BUILD Magazine’s 2016 Architecture Award Series.
Construction is expected to be completed in late 2017.