Friday, May 2, 2008


Pulltab Design was retained to design a series of renovations to a loft space along with a new penthouse and garden area atop an existing roof, accessed through the fifth floor loft.

Designed as a space for both reading and entertaining, the East Village Penthouse is part of a larger private residence located on the top floor of an early 1900’s Manhattan walkup.

In creating the indoor/outdoor space, a palette of materials (teak, bronze, zinc and Cor-ten steel) was selected allowing the design to season, through cycles of weathering.

For durability, the solid teak windows, doors and columns were assembled using traditional joinery details, inspired by the techniques of wooden boat building.

Inside the space, a series of three teak cruciform columns carry part of the roof load. These columns are constructed with dado joints and mechanically fastened with silicon bronze screws. In the method of fine furniture building, no glue has been used in their assembly.

Custom bronze brackets, blackened steel panels, steel column bases and capitals were fabricated by a local craftsman in Brooklyn, New York. All of the metal surfaces have been finished using active patinas.

Exterior teak screens, set within the window mullion system, form a brise-soleil.

The screens create both a sun block, for the higher angle of the summer sun, and also a device to note the passing time. As the sun tracks across the sky, the horizontal slats broadcast a continually changing pattern of light and shadow.

Set within a hand assembled galvanized standing seam metal roof, a custom steel plate water trough is welded to a load bearing structural steel tube. The trough and beam act together, creating a composite section which forms a ‘spine’ for the teak rafters and also a collection and dispersion device for rainwater.

Flowing into the zinc lined steel trough the collected rainwater makes its way through a cantilevered section, continuing down the outside of a weathered steel post. The water then passes through a bronze ring, placed in the teak deck, and on to the existing roof.

Adjustable zinc plated discs are mounted on the weathered steel post. Recessed set screws allow the owner to loosen these discs and slide them up and down, ‘tuning’ the waterfall.

Designed as a living environment for all seasons, the penthouse allows for a reprieve from the busy nature of the city, while still connecting the owner to the wonderful and varied cityscape of the East Village (via Pulltab)

Photographs by Elizabeth Felicella

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