Manhattan Law Firm

Expanded, Light-Infused New Facility Optimizes Desirable Location

This Manhattan law firm came to us because one of the named partners was familiar with our work for his previous firm. Between 1987 and 2000, we renovated and custom designed over 300,000 square feet at numerous facilities in New York, Hong Kong, and London for this old-line, white shoe law practice. When our client left, we stayed in touch, and even completed a small project for him at his weekend retreat.

With multiple locations, our client’s new law firm focuses on the needs of content creators and providers who excel in virtually every kind of media. In early 2012, they identified the need for larger facilities in Manhattan – roughly twice the size of their existing footprint – giving us the opportunity to work together again.

We consulted with him extensively while various locations were under consideration. Finally, as each possibility was deemed unacceptable, our client reappraised a 5,000 square foot suite in their current building.

A favorable landlord relationship and a desirable location were undeniable advantages; however, the new leasehold would require a complete renovation to create an appropriate brand image and meet their needs. The presenting challenge was to organize an open-style plan for optimum functional yield and aesthetic appeal.

We created nine-foot high corridors to terminate in windows so daylight infuses the circulation spaces. Private offices have no ceilings. They are open to the 13-foot exposed structure above and lit by a single-ring, high-efficiency fixture. Maximum glass frontage takes further advantage of natural light and offers a view of the public corridor. Specially designed wood doors define each private office entrance.

Guests are greeted at a sweeping curved reception desk with radiating ‘beams’ illuminated by sprays of light, a distinctive feature conceived by celebrated lighting designer, Howard Brandston.

Two large conference rooms feature vaulted ceilings. There are ample workspaces for the Paralegals and Legal Administrative Assistants who serve the facility.

By happy coincidence, the landlord’s previously planned renovation of the elevator lobby included compatible features, such as polished concrete floors.

Project completion is planned for the close of 2012.  Click here to see a selection of previously completed projects.


Manhattan Townhouse

A New Home Rises From the Ashes

This townhouse near The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be completely renovated due to fire damage. Built circa 1899, the six-floor private residence is quite spacious (7,600 square feet), with ample family spaces, formal living and dining areas on the parlor floor, seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The owners have multiple residences, both here and abroad, and may choose to offer the townhouse as a rental property.

Our clients came to us following unsatisfactory attempts to work with two other architectural firms. A trusted builder, with whom we’ve enjoyed a longstanding relationship, brought us together for an initial conversation that developed into a congenial working arrangement.

We responded to our clients’ desire for an elegant, yet highly functional, home with designs that incorporate respectful nods to traditional touches with modern updates. Using BIM, a fully customizable, state-of-the-art 3-D modeling software, we transformed flat drawings into movie-like sequences to give the virtual experience of inhabiting each of the rooms. Project elements, from energy efficient systems to paint details and built-ins, to custom designed lighting and finishes are tracked in one system, assuring all architectural and mechanical intentions remain intact, start to finish.

Octagonal reception area

The ground floor is graced by a striking, formal, octagonal reception area, which leads to the elevator and flows into the stairway. This entrance provides access to the family room at the rear and is organized to facilitate formal gatherings on the parlor floor above. It provides discrete access to a separate service entrance to accommodate deliveries, family storage for strollers and bicycles, and other mudroom needs.

The master suite was conceived to allow one person to conduct business at any hour without disturbing their spouse’s sleep. The suite, which occupies the entire second floor, features two distinct dressing areas and a study separated by the generous bathroom. One may circulate privately between the bedroom and study without using the common stair hall. The master bathroom has unique contours that utilize space behind the elevator shaft for double basins and a dressing table with custom designed lighting. A wet room with separate large tub and shower has a pitched ceiling that rises to a light shaft.

There are two additional private floors, each with two bedrooms and en suite bathrooms. The top floor contains two staff bedrooms and bath, and a large room with a high ceiling that may be used as a gym or playroom. Convenient access to a roof garden rounds out the private attributes of this home.

Construction is slated to begin in autumn of 2012. Click here to view more images of this project.

Click here to see a selection of previously completed projects.


Extreme Makeover…or Not!

This story starts with a large, ho-hum house situated on 17 majestic acres with open views of a 12-acre private lake, the Hudson River, and vistas that would make Frederic Church green with envy. Built in 2000, the 4,500 square-foot post and beam structure was not only dark, but cut off from its surroundings. When the property’s new owners asked us to transform their home – to bring in light, enlarge the living space, and contextualize it in its riveting land- and river-scape, we went to work.

Our first approach – an extreme makeover – involved removing the entire roof, reapportioning the second-floor layout, and creating a central living space that would draw together all areas and elements of the house. Glass at either end of the space would bring the outside in, and offer spectacular views. We proposed new high-performance, high-efficiency mechanical systems, too.

Covering all our bases in this tepid economy, we also proposed a modest makeover, one that would likewise transform the dark interiors, but at much lower cost. In this scenario, we would modify the roof only in the reorganized central living area, replacing dormers with a central gable and revealing an exposed roof line from front to back. For further savings, we’d reuse existing cabinets and materials wherever possible.

Click here to see more.

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