Mixed Use Commercial - Residential Building
22,000 gross SF
15,000 net SF
3,750 lot SF
Like its sister building in East Harlem at Pleasant Avenue, 1653 - 1655 Madison Avenue is designed to redefine the prototypical low income New York City rental building.
However, it’s prominent location at the northern end of Central Park allows this building to stand apart and become a New York City landmark. Located on one of Manhattan’s most heavily transited avenues, the steady and continuous passage of pedestrians and transportation make the South facade of this building a potential billboard.
The corner lot directly adjacent to this building was donated to the city as a public park and currently operates as a community garden. We propose to open our building towards this garden by “fenestrating" the lot line to the maximum and therefore create a potential connection to highlight this natural space while also making it feel more welcome and open to the community. Our goal is to enhance the symbiotic relationship that both the building and the garden generate together and re-define the space’s urban character moving it forward.
Due to this parkland nature of our adjacent site, and our close proximity to Central Park, we designed the South Wall, a lot line wall which is typically ignored in NYC, as a geometric lamp that filters light inwards and outwards, while simultaneously exposing building users to amazing views from the interior while allowing light to glow and softly penetrate the building’s skin. Multi-colored fire rated glass blocks are implemented to comply with the New York City’s strict building code, while providing highly desired natural light during the day and irradiating a warm, internal glow onto the garden at night.
Inside the residential floors of the building, each unit is laid out interact with a perimeter envelope of floor to ceiling glazing. Each unit receives a large, yet intimate run of open day lit facade that extends the senses beyond the interior, making the apartment feel bigger, longer and brighter than it actually is. We’ve maximized the interior space and rationalized its use to get the large runs of continuous open views and plenty of natural light. The building’s skin is an origami of folded planes that allow for seven foot balconies to project and interlock at the perimeter, making use of siding doors that extend living rooms towards the exterior.
Floor plans were laid out so that spaces were wide open and free of clutter from mechanical or structural interruptions. Therefore all infrastructure was placed in internal demising walls, which in turn act as the unit’s storage, kitchen or entry wall. This unique assembly not only clears up space on the floor plan, but it also provides a three foot deep separation between units and public corridors, which performs incredibly well for sound isolation and acoustic absorption between tenants. The apartments feel wide open, are super quiet and have more storage space than any other comparable apartment in the city.
We also worked hard to ensure modularity. For example, all kitchen units are all identical throughout the building as so are the balcony units. The idea of modularity and the economy of the repetitive unit is exercised to the maximum through the building. From the algorithm to rationalize the rain screen facade panels to patterns underneath the balconies, everything has been scripted for efficiency.
Hardware, appliances, flooring, wall coverings and material finishes are all personally designed by Karim Rashid and produced by his industrial design clients.
It was important to Karim that the result of his work manifest into something that would deeply connect with the end user and sustain relationships with the consumers of this space.