Soho Penthouse Duplex in Jean Nouvel’s Iconic 40 Mercer Street Building

Soho Penthouse Duplex in Jean Nouvel’s iconic 40 Mercer Street Building

Architects: SheltonMindel
Project: SoHo penthouse duplex
Location: SoHo, New York, United States
Photography: Michael Moran

Brief: Create a residential SoHo penthouse duplex from a two-story shell in Jean Nouvel’s iconic 40 Mercer Street building.

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Solution: Jean Nouvel’s large-scale curtain wall is a highly resolved and powerful element that must interact and inform the resolution of the new residence. A series of fully articulated components allow visibility of three sides of the curtain wall and always maintain contact with the buildings shell.

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A wood service bar is lined in a cloud gray lacquer and contains bathrooms, guest bedroom, and closets on the lower and upper levels. A metal stair coded in the metal vocabulary of the curtain wall sits freely between the wood bar and a two-story white volume. It contains the kitchen below and the study above. A deconstructed cantilevered cube activates and occupies the glass volume and completes the kitchen below and study perch above. The cube is comprised of a white slatted wood exterior (to accommodate HVAC), a yellow floating ceiling plane, a wood liner for the study above and an aluminum skin that clads the kitchen below.

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The cube’s yellow planar ceiling provides intimacy, a cover from the sun and forms a compliment to the blue glass and gray metal skin of the building. The curtain wall consciously interacts with all the architectural elements inspired by the painting of Piet Mondrian and the exploration of space by architects Gerrit Rietveld and Theo Van Doesburg. The plane’s volumes and spaces are open yet inextricably linked.

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Shadows cast by the curtain wall generate the shape of staggered ceiling glass light boxes that run across the narrow dimensions of the space. They simulate the syncopation of the traffic and light below. Furnishings balance hard and soft, dark and light. The round rug in the large volume is woven to give the impression that when viewed from above, the line work of its texture turns the form into a sphere that follows the path of the sun.

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Architecture, interiors, and context become seamlessly integrated into this unique perch so magically celebrating the city it embraces.

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