A six-unit 12,000sf condominium in Harlem, The Vidro pushes the boundaries of what’s possible on small urban infill sites in marginal neighborhoods. The developer, a longtime neighborhood resident, wanted a building that would contrast against neighboring tenements, in which design would add value, serving as the differentiator against the many conventional competing neighborhood developments while also setting a higher standard for new residential Harlem buildings.
The primary challenge was to create open, spacious residences on a small, narrow NYC infill site while working within zoning and code requirements intended for larger buildings.
The building’s small footprint is caused by a shared zoning lot with the adjacent 1915 tenement building that utilizes most of the available lot coverage and FAR while also jumping lot line. The remaining 23’-9” width and limited available lot coverage created immense challenges requiring “outside the box” thinking to make compact interiors feel spacious while meeting all code requirements and keeping the project financially viable. This balance was achieved through detailed space-planning and after a series of design schemes that creatively manipulated the bulk, footprint and façade seeking optimized solutions that maximized available FAR, while creating the largest interiors possible. The angled and faceted glass façade is a creative response to these challenges and maximizes limited floor area by strategically adding floor area where it’s needed or removing area where it’s not. By pivoting the façade at 65ft we complied with required zoning setbacks, while avoiding the unsightly orthogonal step-back typically used.
To further save space and decrease construction time, the building is made of cast-in-place concrete with reusable forms for superstructure and innovative Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) for infill exterior walls. This product provided the highest insulation values and fire-ratings within the thinnest assembly possible, saving several inches on each side of the building.
These efforts enabled us to craft 6 open, light-filled apartments that feel large, while using design and detailing typically found in more expensive luxury units. To keep the costs down, less expensive materials, fixtures and products were strategically used alongside well-known brands to keep the project in-line with Harlem’s typical construction costs and sales price expectations, while also achieving a higher-end look and feel. The attention given to lighting design with a combination of downlights and linear cove lighting also creates a more luxurious environment that feels larger than it is.
In today’s challenging market conditions, the compact footprint is an unexpected advantage because the resulting smaller units will keep sales pricing down while the design adds value, making the building stand out among competitors. The design has added approximately 18% to the sales price over our initial goal, potentially increasing the sell-out by $1.5M even in today’s tough market.
The Vidro, which means “glass” in Portuguese is the first ground-up NYC building by Soluri Architecture.
The project has begun attracting media attention, winning design awards and garnering positive feedback from neighborhood residents who are “proud” to have such a unique and “beautiful” building in Harlem.
Material Used :
1. Kone – Elevator – Ecospace 2500 lb. elevator
2. Gamco – Curtainwall – CW250 Curtain Wall
3. PPG –Glazing – Solarban 60
4. Magma – Recycled Glass Paneling (Lobby Feature Wall) – Glaskermik
Recycled Glass Panels
5. Argenta – Ceramic Tile - Kursaal
6. Jasper Engineered Hardwood – Engineered Wood Flooring – Tempe Taupe
7. Duravit – Bathtub – Stark Tub
8. Gerberit – Toilet Actuator - Sigma
9. RAB – Interior Lighting –LED Interior Series (2“ & 4“ downlights, etc)
10. Bosch – Gas Cooktop – 500 Series CootopNGM5055UC
11. Bosch – Wall Oven – 500 Series Wall Oven HBL5351UC
12. Bosch – Dishwasher – 300 DXL Series Fully Integrated SHV863WD3N
13. Blomberg – Refrigerator – Built in Bottom Freezer BRFB1920FBI