Convenience and Luxury – Right at Home

Sept. 25, 2006
Citation of Excellence in Buildings’ Modernization Awards 2006: Park South Lofts, New York, NY, submitted by Penelope Kim Designs LLC and American Development Group

Located in an appealing, up-and-coming location in Lower Mid-town Manhattan’s Murray Hill, a former Class-B office building has taken on new life through a dramatic, inventive conversion to luxury residences.

Developer American Development Group (ADG) established this project - now known as Park South Lofts - as a prototype design and approach for other projects. Of particular note: The original interior spaces (which had been designed for manufacturing when the building was first constructed in 1922) offer the most engaging features for residential use today: large, uninterrupted floor plates; 11-foot-high ceilings; and abundant, natural light provided by 7-foot-high windows.

ADG’s concept is centered on enhancing conversions or new construction with high-end design, quality finishes, and a specific focus on futuristic technology, which offers an opportunity for buyers to enjoy all that the city has to offer, as well as every convenience, within one’s home. For example, a person can reach into the refrigerator to get breakfast, close the door, and access a computer set into the refrigerator door to check e-mail, schedule an appointment, or create a food inventory. Similarly, he or she can then drop dishes into the sink, close a lid, push a button, and start a dishwashing function. Not only are these utilities at the cutting edge of technology and a unique design element, but they also create space for the resident. Central to the team’s vision is a large, open kitchen with a sitting area in each unit that becomes the center of interaction among families and friends.

Finishes in the apartments are luxurious and innovative. Brazilian cherry floors extend throughout and are accented with a ribbon of dark walnut around the perimeters of the living and bedrooms. The master bathrooms are a calming oasis of glass and stone, with two bands of stainless-steel tiles that encircle the spaces like pieces of jewelry. An important element of an ADG project is the use of a higher standard in all elements of construction; even in basic elements, such as sheetrock, the developer chose a high-abuse product to ensure durability. All walls have sound insulation and special reinforcement for art and picture hanging. Custom-fit track lighting is also standard.

Although there were numerous challenges in the design and construction of the residential tower, the most prominent issue involved the lobby. To soften the double-height space - which contained an intrusive mezzanine level jutting out into the already-narrow area - the team decided to emphasize the verticality of the lobby, de-emphasize the mezzanine, and create a smooth circulation flow into the lobby. Interplay of curved forms is the result, with warm cherry wood and reflective surfaces that spotlight a stainless-steel waterwall.

Whether in public or private spaces at Park South Lofts, stylish, understated luxury prevails. A value-add: What could be better than enjoying a breathtaking view of the Empire State Building or the bustling city below right from your own home?

JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “A stunning repurpose of space (from office to apartments) and, obviously, one in tune to market desires. While new technologies were introduced to the living space, the work in the lobby stood out as most impressive. Use of different finishes and the waterfall and backlit glass really make the space interesting and exciting.”

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