The Landon – For this 340-unit building renovation, we wanted to look back to the neighborhood’s history as a hub of transportation, not far from the meatpacking district, and it’s association with the rail connection to the southwest. We took cues from southwestern landscapes, including principal JG Neukomm’s own photography, to inform the design and finishes. The resulting soft and dusky palette sets the stage for numerous interventions, notably the lush, vegetal interior at the main lounge and lobby, and the south-facing new roof lounge and roof deck. A new feature stair complements the initial concept, bringing an organic quality lacking on the original building.
Architizer chatted with Jean-Gabriel Neukomm, AIA, Principle at JG Neukomm Architecture to learn more about this project.
Architizer: What inspired the initial concept for your design?
Jean-Gabriel Neukomm: Registering the history and materiality of the meatpacking district was a significant point of departure. We very much wanted to create a link from New York’s West side to an otherworldly place. Too much of the West side has a corporate feel, we felt something softer and transportive was a strong direction.
What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?
We have several favorite moments, notably the feature stair at the roof level, as well we the 360 degree roof deck. But our favorite intervention is the central landscape element in the main lounge. This design helps to subtly break up the impressive main space into distinct seating groups and social uses. The interior trees also provide a soft and soothing element, and bring a human scale to an otherwise oversized room. We felt it was important to create a transportive space, one where you could take a break from the city’s bustle and find your place, but without losing the grandeur of being in a large public space.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
The greatest challenges were technical, given we were working in an existing and inhabited building. Adding a new deck to an existing roof required minute levels of coordination (especially given the apartments were occupied), as did reconfiguring a central mechanical room to an amenity space. A lot of work went into relocating the gym to an existing space with an 9′ ceiling height. To do so, we created oversized walkable skylights open to the sky above, which let us gain back the slab thickness and the skylight itself — about 2′ in total, and just enough room for the gym component to work comfortably.
What is your favorite detail in the project and why?
One of our favorite details is the amenity stair which connects a penthouse level room to the new rooftop amenity space. The organic forms help soften up what is a very geometric and rigid building, and created a dramatic look and feel off the lounge’s entry hall.
In what ways did you collaborate with others, and how did that add value to the project?
We worked hand in glove with our team of consultants, all of whom we have with over 10 years or more, to get very real and tight constraints resolved. The property’s owner also managed the various construction teams, and we were very thankful of their drive to make the project work, and not value engineer our designs as much as possible. A lot of effort went into making the vision real, and we are incredibly grateful for that.
Were any parts of the project dramatically altered from conception to construction, and if so, why?
Luckily, very few parts changed dramatically. As I mentioned above, the owner and contractors were motivated to make it work as designed.
How have your clients responded to the finished project?
They are thrilled. We are doing more projects with them now (Landon was our first), and have developed a great working relationship.
How do you believe this project represents you or your firm as a whole?
The project reflects our ethos that great projects can only be actualized through a collaborative effort, and that good design cannot be truly achieved without a solid technical knowledge base. Understanding budgets from day 1 is also critical to avoid complicated re-design during construction.
How do you imagine this project influencing your work in the future?
We are definitely looking to be more involved as architect of record and lead designer on larger, similar projects. It has opened up a lot of new opportunities to the firm.
Consultants: GMS (structural engineer); ABS (MEPS engineer); Shannon construction
Products / Materials: Florim tile
For more on the Landon, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.
The Landon Gallery