HOLLANDER Design Landscape Architects

HOLLANDER Design Landscape Architects

New York, NY | Chicago, IL


Verde Moderne

This hidden midtown Manhattan rooftop takes cues from the period in which the Empire State Building was conceived: the Streamline Moderne of the late 1930’s Art Deco movement. A celebration of Twenty-First Century industrial achievements, the movement’s architectural aesthetic emphasized horizontal lines, metal trim, and a subdued color palette. Timeless, elegant design solutions of this era inspired a spectacular, verdant urban oasis that honors the majesty of Manhattan’s most prominent skyscraper visible in the distance.

Originally completed as a blockbuster movie set, the existing overburden on this 2,800 square-foot rooftop was comprised of temporary and deteriorating materials unfit for reuse. After the faux cinder block walls, shoddily constructed pergolas, and failing plant material had been removed, further investigation of the
roofing system revealed that the waterproofing and insulation demanded reconstruction. Parapet walls were also unstable and had to be completely rebuilt from the bond beams up. Further complicating construction logistics, the structural capacity on this older roof was limited, requiring that locations of extreme loading be strategically identified. In areas with insufficient support, steel dunnage was utilized. Ultimately, this dictated changes in the terrace levels that needed to feel natural.

This verdant master terrace is complete with a hot tub and breakfast nook. Copper cladding around the hot tub was selected as a nod to the Art Deco inspiration. Supporting steel dunnage beneath elevates the hot tub higher than the surrounding walkways and seating area, evoking the feeling of being perched within the canopies of the multi-stem River Birch. Slivers of neighboring building cornices’ peak through the dense vegetated perimeter - a reminder of the cityscape beyond this lush oasis. Subtle design elements evoke a refined Art Deco spirit at the nearby dining terrace. The long flanges of the pergola’s steel I-beams are exposed. Integrated purlins on the opposite side of the beams are covered with continuous runs of Ipe adorned with stainless steel fasteners on the surface. Planters filled with Boxwood, Hydrangea, Lady’s Mantle, and Japanese Forest Grass are clad with long runs of Ipe defining strong horizontal lines across the terrace. Sandstone pavers in an octagonal inlay pattern define the Entertainment Terrace. A secluded yoga terrace sits nestled just beyond. In both areas, direct views frame and celebrate the Empire State Building shining in the distance.

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Status: Built
Location: New York, NY, US
Firm Role: Landscape Architect
Additional Credits: Interior Designer - Gary McBournie Inc
Photographer - Charles Mayer