PKSB Architects

Art Collector's Apartment

 

Art Collector's Apartment | NEW YORK, NY

In a very different kind of Fifth Avenue apartment house — a prewar building transformed into a modern postwar one with balconies — the idea was to frame views of Central Park and the owner’s collection of contemporary arts and crafts. But the frames themselves, which contain glass door panels, track lighting, built-in cabinets, even the bed, became works of art themselves. Their burnished zinc finish (inspired by a draftsman’s triangle), and visible joinery make the frames look both handmade and inserted, as all the interior casework and partitions obviously are. Display shelves and window seats are tucked into frames or niches, so that floor space is maximized and each element has its place in the whole. While creating separate, private rooms the architects have managed to preserve the feeling of lightness and openness in this 1,800 square-foot apartment without sacrificing the human scale and delicacy that had once been there. A one-inch reveal on solid walls echoes the one-inch width of the frame; both define a six-foot-eight-inch datum that is repeated throughout the apartment on window mullions, at the top of the kitchen cabinets, on top of the tile in the bathroom. Steps at the east end of the living area lead up to the bedroom which has been elevated to provide a view of the park from the bed; stairs at the west end step up to a recovered porch, separated from the living room itself by full-height transparent doors that open the apartment literally and visually to the park.