WAVERLY PLACE TOWNHOUSE
A daring townhouse restoration in Manhattan's West Village now includes landscaped terraces, a music parlor, a skylit gym, and every amenity.
The new owners of Waverly Place in Manhattan’s West Village knew that gutting an historic townhouse was a complex undertaking, but were admirers of Turett’s townhouse renovations elsewhere in the neighborhood and eagerly brought his team on board to convert the multi-unit structure into a single family home. Turett worked closely with preservationists to anticipate the special needs of the protected façade, and with the owners to design a light-filled house, with landscaped yard and terraces, a music parlor, and every amenity. But no one could have anticipated the unusual obstacles the project would face before construction would finally pick up speed.
In consideration of a centuries-old cemetery nearby and 140-years-plus age of the house, the Landmark’s Commission required –for the first time ever for a private residence—the involvement of an archaeologist to document the excavations and record any findings of interest. Further challenges emerged: the water-table proved to be several feet higher than anticipated; vulnerable historic structures on all sides required careful monitoring and extraordinary sub-surface design accommodations; newly aggressive excavation oversight previously reserved for much larger structures came online mid-construction, demanding extensive re-engineering.
Turett’s team of designers and consultants were prepared, meeting exhaustively with the city’s Excavation Unit, city-appointed archaeologists, preservationists, Community Boards, and neighbors to bring the owners’ original vision to life. Turett worked with adjacent homeowners to achieve a planted rear-yard design that satisfied all interested parties, and brought an impressive array of engineers and consultants aboard to help guarantee a safe process.
The final designs include Turett’s signature tour-de-force stairs; sectional invention creating overlapping volumes of space; a dramatic triple-height steel-and-glass elevation; extraordinary acoustical and thermal insulation as part of a highly energy efficient envelope. For Turett, logistical hurdles and accommodations to circumstance and context must be subservient to the overarching architectural vision, the aspirations of the owners and the long-term value imparted to the site. This uniquely encumbered site was no exception.