Just across the street, at 150 Bowery, is a non-descript one-story building.
It was built quickly by the landowner a couple of years ago to, no doubt, grab some rental income while s/he waits for the land value to blossom and give themselves time to figure out what to do with the property. It’s an enviable situation.
It currently houses a lighting showroom that perfectly complements the current row of other lighting, plumbing, and kitchen supply showrooms. And the neighborhood is changing.
What first drew us to this site, as we peer down from our 5th floor studio across the street, is the absence of any rooftop equipment. No dunnage. No air handlers. No satellite dishes. No roof hatches. No access. It’s a perfectly flat trapezoid, 5,000 square feet, 12 feet above the street.
As new tenants in the area, we asked ourselves, our neighbors, our visitors, “what would you like to see in the neighborhood?” The answers were varied, but they all revolved around the desire for open space and a place to get out of the office and kick-back with friends and colleagues. Being a rooftop, visions instinctually went to the classic New York roof deck: sun, plants, coffee and cocktails.
We added flexibility to the mix so groups of people could use (or rent) the rooftop for private functions, gatherings, meetings, and events. Music, great food, and outdoor presentations and cinema could easily be supported. When there are no official happenings, the rooftop becomes an elevated and outdoor living room for the hard-working people in the area (ahem, Mapos and the like). Wrapped in metal scrims and/or the classic storage container, our project becomes a visible-yet-removed retreat. Off the street and in the air.