Manhattan Conservatory Water Residence Revitalized by SheltonMindel

Manhattan Conservatory Water Residence Revitalized by SheltonMindel

Architects: SheltonMindel
Project: Fifth Avenue Conservatory Water Residence
Location: Manhattan, New York City, United States
Photography: Michael Moran

Brief: In a historic residence on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue found in its estate condition as built in 1930’s, revitalize, renovate and create a civic residential space suited to the owners penchant for philanthropy; A modern think tank and forum for the display of American art.

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Solution: In this nearly gut renovation; it was key to find a methodology to bring it’s past forward, yet acknowledge the changes of modern life without a slavish restoration. The solution required quite drastic measures including; bold architectural reorganization of the spaces, opening up the plan, bringing light into dark spaces and creating spaces that did not exist. A new vaulted tracery ceiling and gallery were recycled pieces of the old black and white entry floor.

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Raised gilded paneling form the former living room, which made it impossible to hang art is removed from its original living room; cut, pasted, plastered and used as cake frosting ornament in secondary spaces. The former living room mantle is swapped with the former master bedroom mantle finding it more of an appropriate application.

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The old St. Charles metal kitchen cabinets are moved, recycled, and integrated into the new 25 square foot Bulthaup kitchen. The terraces spaces are joined through a new bronze clad opening and a former solarium is restructured with internally placed ivy to embrace the silhouette of the original buildings form.

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Words like sustainability, LEED and recycling are de rigueur these days but in the case of its historic place, its own archaeology is salvaged and nearly everything is recycled and given another chance.

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