Project DescriptionArchitectural Interiors / Citation
The owners of a duplex, elegantly remodeled by local firm 1100 Architect, were able to purchase the 800-square-foot flat just above it several years later. Undoubtedly pleased with the firm’s earlier transformation, they commissioned the firm again to convert the annexed unit into a guest suite and a "retreat where the client can work." Following a popular fashion when this prewar building was constructed, the unit had a "sunken" living room, four steps below entry level. The architects took down barriers around the perimeter and celebrated the level change with broad flights of steps. For access below, a compact, twisting stairway was inserted.
The treatment of the added flat is admirably consistent with the duplex below. Here, too, are walls of uniform white-lacquered panels, some of which open—in this case for access to the bedroom and bath and to reveal a wet-bar niche lined in vivid red. Reflective white surfaces make the most of abundant daylight and of indirect lighting diffused across them after dark. Through meticulous detailing, some planes appear to be paper thin. "Even though the language is familiar to us," observed juror Cary Bernstein, "it doesn't feel predictable. And the execution is just great." —John Morris Dixon, FAIA