TRA studio Architecture

TRA studio Architecture

New York, NY



This is the largest condominium project recently completed in Chelsea: an existing massive masonry nine-story masonry factory building used for printing is converted into 72 apartments. The building is connected to a new addition housing nine apartments, which creates the identity for the whole complex with this narrow structure.

The 20’ wide addition started as a 120’ tall beacon of light, with a sculpted tri-dimensional glass wall that moved progressively away from the street uncovering balconies cantilevered towards the Highline. The balconies increased in depth with the rising levels, similarly to the Singer Building.

At the end of the design process, the project changed dramatically, when we learnt that the new addition had to be reduced to half the height of the historic building.

In the complex under construction, the restored factory building is being transformed by the overlapping extended stainless steel eyebrows stitching the older parent building and the angular addition. The shiny stringcourses project at slight angles, kind of like moving your eyes left to right to catch the views, away from the projects in front.

Melding artistic and architectural experimentation, the angled stringcourses are the replica of the aluminum backdrops of the “minimal pours” by one of the design partners who is also a gestural artist.

The sculptural paintings, hanging in our studio the day we were looking for a solution to the design problem, became the expression of the architectural concept and the project logo visual motif, melding artistic and architectural experimentation.

The lobby entrance and Zen-garden occupy the ground floor of the new addition, the extensive structural elements penetrating the lobby have been incorporated in the design, like abstract sculptures wrapped in colored resin and lighting.

On the roof the wood deck is divided in two areas by a planted field of native grasses and wildflowers, species found on the Highline. The west “Day Deck” is animated by umbrellas, lounge chairs and cooled by outdoor showers. The east “Night Deck” is furnished with an outdoor bar, picnic tables, an outdoor grille and a fountain doubling as a beverage cooler. The deck area is surrounded by a running track, at once functional and voyeuristic.

Both the loft apartments and the smaller new units recorded great sale as well as re-sale prices.

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Status: Built
Location: New York, NY, US