The project at 684 Broadway is an effort to explore the interface
of the built and natural environment. Reconfiguring the space in between and
making new connections creates more fluid passages; not blurring the line
between landscape and architecture, but widening it. This thick interface
creates the opportunity for new types of spaces. Alternating sheaves of
landscape and building on both horizontal and vertical planes create
transitions within this widened line. It is a complex interface that is layered
– the thicker the line the better – and results in a new spatial entity.
This interface becomes a sustainable strategy that aims
to maximize biodiversity and sustainable design in this urban site by extending
green space both horizontally and vertically within the renovated apartment and
exterior roof space. The result, hypernature, is an artificial spectacle of
constructed nature. Natural forms and phenomena are revealed and re-visioned
into a magical landscape for living. Ecology and art meet at the surface
creating an explosion of life within the urban context.
The interface begins with an interior garden beneath a
twenty foot long skylight. Filled with large leaved Elephant Ears and black
bamboo, the plants create an ascending green carpet beneath the floating stairs
to the roof. Above the delicate bamboo fronds, through a glass partition
separating the garden from master bathroom, is visible a green wall planted
with euonymus. This improbable swath of vertical vegetation climbs the wall
colliding with a second skylight through which is visible the rooftop planting.
Peppered with a variety of wild flowers tall grasses
encircle the roof top living space. Their delicate leaves swaying in the breeze
reveal the beauty of this typically wind rooftop.
Suspended above the sea of grasses is a bi-level ipe
deck. On the lower level a small gravel path leads to a look out pod with views
over the lower east side, an outdoor shower and on the opposite side of the
stair bulkhead, a more private enclave with jacuzzi and sunning deck. Five
steps lead to the upper level with an outdoor kitchen and grill lounging space.
Birches punch through the deck at this level, creating dappled afternoon shade.
From the second level the parapet green roof is visible. This swath of lush
sedums creates an infinity edge of green with skyline as backdrop.
Opposite the parapet, the bulkhead rises into the sky.
Densely planted with stepable plants one can lie on the slope and watch cloud
rushing overhead. A staircase leads to the top from which there is a 360 degree
view of the Lower East side.