Luxury Living Meets Cultural Charm

Oct. 1, 2007
Buildings Interiors® Citation of Excellence: 123 Baxter, New York, NY

Inside 123 Baxter exists a haven of luxury living. Residents enjoy the latest technology in comfort, security, and communication. Right outside, the neighborhoods of SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown are waiting to be explored.

123 Baxter contains 24 apartment units, ground-floor retail space, and a fully automated, 67-car parking garage. The building's design was inspired by the pinwheel. Spaces rotate around a central core, according to the "pinwheel" concept. The exterior displays glass frontages alternating with brick walls that sweep outward from the building. An important goal was to have the new building appear as a natural element in the urban landscape of the vibrant yet historic neighborhood. To achieve this goal, style elements seen on adjacent buildings are reflected from 123 Baxter's own façades. The brick finish features a detailed, basket-weave pattern comprised of four different types of brick that make up six different patterns. Another notable design feature is the brick wing wall at the corner of Hester and Baxter Streets. Described as a "neighborhood veneer," it provides separation between the balconies and the street.

The pinwheel concept echoes in the residential units, where each unit wraps around a central core. This layout exposes each residence to natural light and air, and features private outdoor spaces. A number of the units permit design flexibility, allowing for full wall openings onto terraces and containing interior walls that slide open.

The entertaining kitchen is at the heart of each unit, and the other living spaces rotate around it. The units were designed with the idea that today's kitchen is at the center of living, gathering, and entertaining. Residents can check e-mail and leave video messages on state-of-the-art, high-tech refrigerators. Kitchen interiors are finished with custom white oak cabinetry, etched white glass tiles, gray flannel stone countertops, and stainless steel appliances.

The bathroom is a healing retreat. Chromatherapy (color therapy) tubs provide hydro-thermo massage; the tubs' LED systems are said to improve energy and health. Spa showers feature a wooden bench as well as luminotherapy, thermotherapy, and aromatherapy features.

The luxury doesn't end there. Soundproof interior walls and private balconies outline a serene space. Units are pre-wired with high-speed Internet and equipped with an intercom/security system. This system allows residents to view visitors before answering. It also features automatic concierge callback, direct taxi or valet request, and message notification and call forwarding to other units, as well as smoke, fire, medical, and intrusion alarms.

Residents of 123 Baxter can take advantage of the fitness center, around-the-clock doorman and concierge services, and the convenience of a fully automated parking garage. With no more than the swipe of a magnetic key, the parking system locates the appropriate car and, using conventional elevator components, brings the car to its owner. The parking garage at 123 Baxter is the first of its kind in New York City; its construction in this location presented a challenge. Two adjacent tenement buildings had to be carefully supported while the basement was excavated to make room for the system. Construction was completed successfully, and 123 Baxter has found its place as an example of innovative architecture and the future of cosmopolitan living.

Judges' Comments

"The design intent and scope was not only followed through, but also eloquently accomplished in the time period it set out to emulate. Yet, it comprises a sleek look that will stay in style 10 years down the road with only minor adjustments. The special qualities displayed by this project are well balanced. It is not easy, with the cost of land in New York, to produce a scheme with such qualities. Lesser designers have tried this type of solution and failed."

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