West 113th Street Apartment
Concept Design Book
MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS HISTORICAL DISTRICT
The Morningside Heights Historical District consists of 115 buildings. Designated in a historical district in 2017, the majority of the residential and institutional buildings included were built around the turn of the 20th century, which coincided with the relocation of Columbia University in the 1890s. Located on a large plateau, this area is known as the “acropolis” of New York.
Built in 1899, the apartment is sited in the Morningside Heights History District. Designed as part of a speculative development to serve Columbia University, the building exhibits typical architectural features to many of the residential buildings in the surrounding area. Designed in the Colonial Revival style, the apartment has a classical, tripartite facade and is clad in limestone and Roman brick.
Original Unit Plans
The apartment originally started out as two separate adjacent units that were later on combined, hence its long and narrow shape.
BATH A BEDROOM A LIVING ENTRY
Clients’ Requests Based on the current conditions of the apartment layout, three problem areas were identified. The first was the long dark hallway, which was the result of combining two separate apartments. The clients requested to bring more light into this space as a way of improving the experience of the new entry of the apartment. ORIGINAL APARTMENT DIVISION
Clients’ Requests The second area of concern was the shared space, which was divided into four quadrants by partition walls, making up the foyer, kitchen, dining room, and living room. The request was to make the space more cohesive through an open plan, which would result into a brighter and more spacious area.
The third condition brought up was the scattered storage space in the bedrooms. This needed to be optimized and organized.
Three plan design iterations were explored to reorganize the space and maximize light, storage, and circulation. Each scheme focuses on using the hallway as the central organizing spine running throughout the length of the unit.
ROOMS & STORAGE
The FLARED scheme softens the ends of the hallway by flaring them open. This move allows the long and narrow space to feel brighter and more spacious. Storage areas are concentrated in the storage room and closets.
OPTION 1 - STORAGE
OPTION 1 - CIRCULATION
ROOMS & STORAGE
The ORTHOGONAL option embraces the rigidity of the hallway and is therefore closest to the existing plan. Storage is neatly reorganized in strips perpendicular to the hallway, maximizing the space of each bedroom.
OPTION 2 - STORAGE
OPTION 2 - CIRCULATION
ROOMS & STORAGE
The CUT scheme brings together the softening technique of the FLARED option and the optimized storage space in the ORTHOGONAL option. The entry corner is cut, reorienting movement from the new entrance into the shared space. Additionally, storage is integrated along the hallway into a T-spine.
OPTION 3 - STORAGE
OPTION 3 - CIRCULATION
GREY GLASS TILES
GREY GLASS TILES TEAK WOOD YELLOW
WHITE OAK FLOORING
WAU’s preferred scheme is the CUT option with a storage wall solution. This layout not only brings light deep into the narrow unit, but creates a unifying formal gesture that allows for unobstructed circulation while providing siginificant storage in both the more public and private spaces.
BATH B BEDROOM B BEDROOM C
The CUT scheme opens up the end of the hallway to the living room, which allows more sunlight to filter through, improving the experience of walking through this space. The oblique wall resulting from the cut also reorients movement, directing one from the entrance to the shared space.
Integrated along the hallway is the storage wall, which consolidates the bedroom cabinetry into the core of the apartment. The wall’s Teak wood finish creates a strong contrast with the aluminum hallway cut, creating a change of atmosphere around the bedrooms.
Above the hallway and kitchen, the ceiling is dropped by a foot to house the a mini-split ductless HVAC system. Dropping the ceiling not only keeps the HVAC system out of sight, but also provides a clear hierarchy of spaces in the apartment.
Within the storage wall, there are three different storage configurations: Configuration A acts as a passageway; configuration B opens up to the hallway; configuration C opens up to the bedrooms; and cofiguration C opens to both spaces.
PROJECT TEAM WAU Ian Watchorn Alan Song Jake Rosenwald Bettina Colet
©WAU 2022 Watchorn Architecture & Urbanism, DPC. 116 Nassau St. Suite 802, New York, NY 10038