Talk about an elevated site. This family residence perches 10 stories above Manhattan’s Upper East Side, on the roof of a historic 1908 apartment house. Occupying space once given over to ramshackle maid’s quarters, the new glass-walled modern pavilion is hidden from the street by the building’s high parapet wall, but offers distant views of the East River and up Madison Avenue. Architect Marc B. Spector organized the apartment’s plan around a large, open atrium, directing activity and attention toward the unit’s perimeter. “There’s a 4,000-square-foot terrace that wraps around the apartment,” Spector notes. “The view is toward the north and east, where the parapet doesn’t wrap,” but the old structure yields both sheltered outdoor space and historical interest.

Inside, the apartment brings the urbanity of a modernist pied-à-terre to the task of housing a family with young children. Limestone tiles in a running bond pattern line the floor, and large white marble slabs grace the kitchen and baths. Obscure glass and custom glass blocks admit atrium light while screening views from the apartments below. The jury praised the project’s embrace of the rooftop’s rough edges “as wallpaper,” calling the effort as a whole “very creative and very resourceful. In terms of sustainability and reclaiming space, it’s a significant statement. To be able to envision that crude space with this finessed little box is incredible.”

Entrant/Architect: Spector Group, New York; Builder: Facet Construction, New York; Interior designer: AB Interiors, New York; Living space: 3,322 square feet; Construction cost: $600 per square foot; Photographer: Adrian Wilson.

Resources: Bathroom fittings: Dornbracht,, Hansgrohe USA,, Lacava,;Bathroom fixtures: Duravit,, Kohler,, Waterworks,;Carpet: Karastan,;Cooktop, oven, and refrigerator: Thermador,;Exterior siding: Stuc-O-Flex,;Hardware: Schlage,, Hafele,, Hager,, Ives,, LCN,, Pemko,;HVAC equipment: Trane,;Insulation: Johns Manville,, Roxul,;Lighting fixtures: Bartco,, Delta,, Dreamscape,, IRiS,, Linea,, Metalux,, MSK,, Nippo,, RSA,;Paints/stains/wall finishes: Benjamin Moore,;Roofing: Kemper,;Skylights/roof windows and windows: Kawneer,, Lynbrook,