Project DescriptionThe AIA National Award-winning conversion of a 26 story, 1929 loft building, badly damaged in a gas explosion, to 341 luxury rental apartments was of a size and complexity that caught the imagination of public and professionals alike. Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for the NY Times, noted that Turtle Bay Towers "comes closer to the luxury housing of another era than anything that has been built in many years in New York."
The explosion funneled up the elevator shafts, blowing out a 50-foot-wide section of the brick facade from street level to the top story, but structural damage was confined to the elevators. By converting the elevators to passenger use and cutting away the demolished shafts, the design provided a street-level courtyard that opened up a full 200-foot height of the west wall of apartments to natural light. This change also decreased the building's total volume, and zoning regulations permitted this lost space to be regained in the form of greenhouse windows installed on the exterior of most upper floors.
As noted in Architectural Record, "the interiors were designed to capitalize on views, light and spatial variety. A total of 341 apartments benefit from the commercial proportion of the building...12-foot-high ceilings and 8-foot-high windows runing the width of most apartments." Among the laurels bestowed on RKTB for the Turtle Bay Towers renovation were the First Honor award from the American Institute of Architects and Housing Magazine, the Award for Excellence from the New York State Association of Architectures and the Albert S. Bard Award for Excellence in Architecture and Urban Design.