desai/chia architecture, new york city The judges praised the way the architects of this loft residence preserved parts of the raw structure while beautifully detailing the modern insertion. With 5,000 square feet to carve up, the critical concepts here were drawing light deep into the apartment and organizing spatially for both openness and intimacy. Katherine Chia, AIA, finessed the lighting challenge with an innovative skin of glass and offset wood slats on the bathrooms and study that allow the light to bounce through, lantern-like, while providing acoustical and visual privacy. The kitchen is surfaced with anodized aluminum and glass and capped by a lit glass soffit that expresses the ductwork. “The kitchen and baths themselves are worthy of awards,” one judge observed.

The western edge of the space, abutting a long row of windows, contains a more intimate dining area and reading nook. Chia designed a slightly pitched ceiling plane, almost like the underside of an airplane wing, with spun-aluminum domes that emit a continuous ring of light. “The notion was to create a more ethereal kind of light instead of having it spotting down on you,” Chia says. Bedrooms contain modular snap-in components and are subdivided by storage units that can be opened or closed, like old steamer trunks.

principal in charge / project architect: Katherine Chia, AIA, Desai/Chia Architecture
general contractor: David Giovannitti, Giovannitti Inc., Yonkers, N.Y.
project size: 5,000 square feet
construction cost: $280 per square foot
photography: Paul Warchol Photography