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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 a 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 and 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 owner's 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 and 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.

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