117 7th Avenue South is a three-story building sitting on a triangular site in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village District.
7th Avenue was designed and constructed in the early 1800’s. A century later it was extended into Greenwich Village in response to growing commercial needs and the construction of the subway system. It slices through the West Village’s tilted urban grid forming a path of uniquely bisected blocks and irregular triangular shaped properties.
New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee approved 9 residential units in 2.5 floors to be added to the building provided they maintain the character of the existing structure and fit into the established neighborhood aesthetic.
The design doubles the building volume yet maintains its material proportions of brick and glass by extending the original brick facade to cover the existing structure while raising and doubling the amount of the window wall to cover two of the residential floors.
The building has a long street-facing façade with a deep mass at one end tapering down to the other end. The triangular lot proved challenging when drawing apartment layouts and providing natural light in the interior spaces. To maximize the available areas a series of folding walls and skylights were designed to create flexible well-lit interior spaces.
Doubling a building’s height doesn’t come without its unique challenges. The additional weight of the two new floors meant many of the existing footings and columns needed to be reinforced and enlarged. The entire building was temporarily elevated to release the pressure of the existing footings. An elaborately calculated system of beams and jacks served as interim support while the structure of the building was raised an 1/8 of an inch to separate it from its foundation.