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The White Snake

Space4 Architecture


61 West 83rd Street



  • Michele Busiri-Vici
  • Clementina Ruggieri
  • Pino Pavese
  • Gabriela Bruno


  • Structural Engineer: Agencie Group

Project Status


Year Completed



5,000 sq. feet



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Project Description

Our challenge for this project was to create spatial continuity within a narrow historic townhouse in the Upper West Side of New York City.

Our clients, a young couple with two small children, had always lived on a single floor New York apartment. Intrigued, yet uncertain of the different lifestyle their newly acquired 5 story townhouse had to offer, we proposed a fluid and open space on multiple floors.

Our design intention was to adapt and reinterpret the concept of a loft. In our case a vertical loft. To emphasize this feeling of ‘openness,’ we had to work simultaneously on a horizontal and vertical plane.
By conceptualizing the ‘grand stair’ as a ‘snake-like’ coil, we were able to open up the house vertically with a dynamic light well. At the top floor the coil of the stair is in a tight U-shape, providing maximum floor area for the private spaces. As the stair descends into the lower levels, where the most public spaces are located, the coil loosens, opening generously into its surroundings and allowing the most light through. The light filters down to the ground floor as it is reflected off of the smooth white curves of the handrail creating a modern sense of openness and fluidity and uniting all 5 floors. On the first two levels the fully glazed back facade opens seamlessly into the rear garden providing continuity between the interior and exterior and on the fifth floor a new addition accommodates a private entertainment lounge with uninterrupted view of both north and south Manhattan.
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