This house for a bachelor began as a one-story workshop that occupied the entire 22’x100’ site.The pre-existing condition of a built-full lot meant that, according to NYC zoning regulations, if we don’t enlarge the house, we need not comply with typical residential requirements such as a 30’ rear yard.Thus we got to build something very difficult for NewYork: an atrium house, built around a courtyard.The house gives maximum exposure to the outdoor space and a sense of intimate privacy. In some neighborhoods this would spoil an array of adjacent, verdant backyards. But this is a mixed-use block.The neighbor to the east is a built-full recording studio, for example.Both the living room and the bedroom suite (bedroom and bath) open completely to the courtyard through folding glass doors.There are also outdoor spaces at both ends of the second floor. A catwalk through the double-height living room connects these outdoor spaces.The primary circulation path extends the full depth of the house, along the east side wall.This axis helps this side wall become a SpecialWall. Steve, the owner, is a creative individual — a musician, actor, storyteller, and artist — and the SpecialWall becomes an elongated surface for creative projects.The wall is clad in pine boards that were sawn from the house’s original joists. Embedded in the wall are steel channel struts.There are dozens of fittings that bolt to these struts, and pretty much anything may be mounted on them. Running parallel to the struts are electrical Plugmolds that ensure that you can install an electrical device on the wall anywhere. Lighting along this wall is from fixtures made of plumbing pipe, designed by the architect.The experience of moving through the house provides varied conditions, varied views.There are narrow spaces like the entry and first flight of stairs.The main space, on the other hand, is open and airy.The stair is cantilevered from the wall dividing the two flights, so it starts in a compressed space and ends suspended above the double-height living room.The front facade is modest and unassuming. It is basic stucco, with GreenScreen wire mesh to support vines that will soon cover it.The house is heated by a radiant concrete floor.