By Carter B. Horsley
Why shouldn't the outside of a modern apartment
building look like the inside of a Petri dish?
South African architect Lindy Roy designed
a very intriguing and elegant façade for the High Line
519 condominium apartment building at 519 West 23rd Street that
employs curved, almost-amoeba-shaped stainless-steel screens that
overlap floors in the center of the building's glass façade.
The steel screens, or scrims, are in front
of glass French doors, on the south façade of the building.
The building's website described the screens as "perforated,
embossed stainless steel balustrades [that] meander skyward, skimming
the all-glass façade: a shimmering overlay distinct from
the customary urban rhythms of stacked floor slabs and punched
The north façade of the building has
balconies that overlook the High Line elevated railroad that is
being transformed into a park. Dark wood paneling that the website
proclaimed is "reminiscent of the deep rusty hue of the High
Line trestle sheathes the building's west face."
The building, which was developed by Sleepy
Hudson, has 11 full-floor apartments with 10-foot-3-inch ceilings,
video security and central multi-zone air-conditioning and recessed
lighting and washer-dryers and walk-in closets. Two of the penthouses
have wood-burning fireplaces and there is a garden duplex unit.
The windowed master bathrooms have teak and
ebony benches for storage, six-foot cast-iron tubs and the shower
floors are slatted teak. The master baths also has Toscoquattro
macassar ebony vanities with two sinks and Stark 2 wall-hung water
The Varenna kitchens have Canapa lacquer and
Tortora glass cabinetry, Sub-Zero refrigerators and wine coolers
and Miele appliances.
The two penthouses have wood-burning fireplaces and there is a
garden duplex unit.
Ms. Roy's firm is Roy Design. She recently
designed Vitra USA's headquarters and Hotel QT at 125 West 45th
Street near Times Square for André Balazs. She was the
winner of the Museum of Modern Art/PSI Young Architects Competition
Although it is a relatively small project,
it was one of the first with flair along the High Line.