Location: 251 East 61st Street, New York City
Project Size: 5,900 SF
Client: Petro Management
Project Type: Townhouse and Carriage House contemporary Restoration, Adaptive Reuse (from Mixed-Use to Residential), Penthouse Addition, Interior Design
TRA is New York City and Southampton firm led by Caterina Roiatti, AIA, and Robert Traboscia, offering full services in Architecture, Preservation, Interior Design, Branded Environments, and Design Build.
Our diversified expertise gained over decades of proven experience, will benefit your project by allowing us to identify the enabling problem and extraordinarily simple solutions, quickly addressing the complexity and multiple areas of expertise that are often required within a single project and the unexpected issues that inevitably arise during the construction process.
We do not simply solve problems, we are also challenges, working with you to find better ways to live, work, and contribute to the natural and built environment. We design for people, finding the equilibrium across cultural and practical constraints, place and users, context and design, broad vision and details, uncovering opportunities for vibrant, but pragmatic, interventions.
We prioritize all projects regardless of size and context, we will take the time to learn about your story, vision, and aspirations, we want to create the best place for you and your life.
Through intelligent zoning interpretations, powerful analysis tools, and distinct design, we explore all possibilities. We have a proven record of improving the balance sheets and adding the most value to your development site, creating buildings that are as significant to the context as they are for the users.
At TRA, we have the best team who speak all languages of design and a wide network of close collaborators who will work on your project, but you can also feel confident that Caterina and Robert will be your trusted advisor and remain involved throughout the entire process.
The Pre-Existing Conditions
What do you do when you are faced to reuse a small, mediocre, 100 years old structure, non-Landmarked, which has been altered and stripped of numerous details? do you preserve everything for the sake of it or do you change “something” giving new significance to the building?
This turn of the century, a four-story brick townhouse with an exceedingly rare two-story rear carriage house, is not landmarked; at first, the townhouse seemed to be in a mediocre preserved condition, but a closer investigation revealed that both buildings had lost most of their original details, in fact, the carriage house façade was nothing more than a plywood painted mask that created three arched openings, clearly too small for any stable. The project offered the unique opportunity to rethink what had become two separate mixed-use, heavily altered buildings, into a single, unique, private complex
The Coach House
The project makes the most of the unique conditions, enhancing all of the characteristics that make “townhouse” living desirable, without the downsides inherent to the compact size, of the interior, the final result is completely unexpected in a 20’ wide structure, the spaces feel wider and luminous, comfortably equipped by amenities rarely found in townhouses, such as concealed storage and an elevator. The court level, when all the sliding doors are open, transforms surprisingly into an open floor loft space.
The Underground Gallery
The fully excavated cellar houses needed amenities and an underground passageway, punctuated by skylights, allowing for the combined as well as separated use of the two buildings, it also offers the branding of the project. The other significant alteration was the stripping of the fake brick veneer cladding of the Coach House and its redesign. The street facade has been transformed with the addition of a canopied entrance, at the upper floors corten arches and a new corten cornice to recreate lost details. The exterior detailing complements the interior design of the space.
Both buildings open onto the private court, melting seamlessly the indoor with the serene tranquil, open-air living room, flanked by two similar facades. At the top floor glass addition, when the bronze and glass, 18’ wide sliding door assembly doors are open, the room feels like an exterior space, suspended in the green. The view from the top floor truly highlights what luxury is in the City: looking at your own private complex, surrounded by trees. Adding to the private landscape, the green roof, also insulates the house and slows stormwater absorption.
The stair, a modern interpretation of the traditional stair hall, finds its place in a slot behind the fritted glass and bronze screen which rises through the public spaces, a 20’ high precious marble fireplace connects the living room and Den.
The completed renovation gives back to the Street a whole, substantial Façade that completes the impressive row of historic townhouses that precede it on the East, adding to the quality of the District.
The Design-Build Process
TRA studio has been instrumental in collaborating with the client, working in a shared project management capacity. TRA has been responsible for preparing and continuously updating the project schedule and preparing shop drawings. TRA also developed the marketing renderings, which not only illustrate the design to a potential buyer but also were instrumental in developing the construction details.