Yes! This Penthouse By David Hotson Has A Rock-Climbing Column And Giant Tubular Slide
March 21, 2013
This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Jury Award in the residential interiors category. See the full list of winners here.
NYC is teeming with swanky, modern pads. You know the type: loft-like spaces decked out with buttery leather furnishings, immaculate stainless steel kitchens, and de rigueur artwork from the likes of Warhol or Damien Hirst. Typically, these luxe homes also offer spacious verandas with sweeping views of Manhattan and beyond—the perfect place to sip a cocktail while basking in your awesomeness.
Now don’t get us wrong: We wouldn’t mind living in one of these swish abodes. But more often than not, they don’t push the boundaries in terms of architecture. That’s why we were so psyched to discover the skyhouse by David Hotson Architects, which just took home an Architizer A+ Jury Award in the residential interiors category. This penthouse certainly stands above the pack. Read why!
The home occupies the top four levels of one of NYC’s earliest steel skyscrapers (built in 1896).The overall design strategy, says Hotson, was to create functional living quarters “suffused with an immersive, enveloping, and—at times—disorienting spatial drama.” Mission accomplished! The architect transformed the raw space into a funhouse of sorts, with unexpected twists and turns and vertigo-inducing elements like a transparent glass bridge and towering interior column meant to be climbed (finger- and footholds are attached to it, and once you reach the apex, you can rappel down. Seriously!).
The sky house—its name a mashup of skyscraper + penthouse—also contains a tubular, polished steel slide that cuts through various floors, “sweeping over a bedroom, out through a window, and over the stair, before coiling down through the library ceiling to arrive” near the apartment’s entrance. “It’s a tour de force of architectural metalwork,” says Hotson, noting that the slide’s components were shipped from Germany and meticulously assembled on-site. Beyond the architecture, the dwelling features playful furnishings and finishes with pop-culture references; Ghislaine Viñas handled the interior design.
Hotson never thought he’d produce such an unusual home, although it aligns with his goals as an architect. “I’m interested in projects that are about designing a rich spatial experience, and this project certainly develops that idea as fully as anything we’ve done so far.” His portfolio includes offices for Aveda, a Chelsea art center, and a number of high-end urban dwellings.
The architect emphasizes that one can’t fully understand the skyhouse without seeing it firsthand. “It photographs beautifully, and the film elucidates it further,” he says, “But none of those is a substitute for the direct experience.” We certainly hope the owners consider letting the public get a peek during this year’s Open House New York weekend. We’ll all sign contracts guaranteeing we won’t sue if we break our necks while scaling that stellar column—we promise!