Monday 17 Jun 2013


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Occupying a four-storey penthouse structure at the summit of an early downtown skyscraper and commanding astonishing views of the surrounding Lower Manhattan cityscape, this project creates a breathtaking contemporary home in the sky. As the collaborative brainchild of Architect David Hotson and Interior Designer Ghislaine Viñas, the project pairs Hotson’s crisply delineated spaces and rigorous architectural detailing with the vibrant colours, playful references and startling juxtapositions that are signatures of Viñas’ work.  The result is a home of vivid contradictions and breathtaking spatial experiences, combining rigor and whimsy, the precise and the playful, comfort and disorientation, the domestic and the surreal. 

The residence features a four-story high entry hall spanned by structural glass bridges and illuminated by ingenious skylights borrowing light from upper level rooms, a fifty-foot tall living room ascended by climbing holds on the central column, and a mirror-polished stainless steel slide that descends through the full height of the penthouse. Juxtaposed with this spatial drama, Viñas’ incandescent colours, startling overscaled floral patterns, whimsical menagerie of animal forms, tongue-in-cheek lighting fixtures, and sly pop-cultural references create a playful and lighthearted foil to the vertiginous architecture. 

The design exploits its theatrical location by capturing framed views of the iconic buildings and bridges of the surrounding cityscape at a range of scales, from the dramatic skylight in the private elevator vestibule with frames the top of the new Beekman Tower by Frank Gehry looming above, to the intimate peephole in the guest bedroom shower which captures the glow of the Chrysler Building seventy blocks to the north.  

The historic riveted steel structure -among the earliest steel frames used in a New York skyscraper- is exposed as it weaves through the occupied spaces at all level. All these elements are woven into the enveloping prototypical house form of the historic penthouse -with it steep hipped roof, chimneys and projecting dormer windows- creating the startling impression of an otherworldly house suspended midway in the vertical cityscape of Lower Manhattan.  

Furnishings and finishes credit: Ghislaine Vinas Interior Design

David Hotson Architect