Cast Iron House
The Cast Iron House, a 140-year-old New York City Landmark on the National Registry of Historic Places, was recently renovated by the internationally acclaimed architectural firm, Shigeru Ban Architects.
To maintain the historic integrity of the building, the architect carefully inserted a modern interior behind the historic façade, an approach conceptually defined as a “Ship in the Bottle”.
The six-story commercial building was gut-renovated and converted into a nine-story residential condominium by integrating an additional floor into the original landmarked structure and placing a new two-story Penthouse on the roof. Typically, the Landmarks Commission permits only a single-story addition, so the Penthouse was designed to discreetly appear as a single-story addition from the street. As a result of this unique design, the Commissioners granted approval with unanimous support.
To avoid adding stress to the cast iron façade or disturbing the existing foundations, a new structural system was devised to support the new Penthouse. A cantilevered Vierendeel truss that appears to float over the building was structurally designed to move the weight of the addition away from the façade. Additionally, old terracotta floors were replaced with new modern lightweight material, and floor openings were strategically located to reduce excess weight and create double-height interior spaces.
Upon entering the lobby, the building immediately provides a sense of calm with a large picture window looking into a bamboo-filled courtyard. This serene feeling is carried throughout with open, well-lit, luxurious, yet minimalist-designed, spaces.
Stepping into the Penthouse you feel transported to an island far from Manhattan. With its double-height living space and floor to ceiling glass, the Vierendeel truss allows for column-free, unobstructed views. Nine large sliding glass doors along the main living spaces open completely, blurring the line between indoors and outdoors and maximizing daylight and natural ventilation.
The Cast Iron House is a true urban oasis.