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WORKac was tasked with transforming the 159-year-old former factory–one of the oldest cast-iron facade structures in New York City–into four condominium apartments. The firm stacked three spacious two-bedroom apartments on the bottom three floors, but they faced a unique challenge when it came to the top-level penthouse. In order to satisfy the historic neighborhood’s zoning requirements, the glass addition they were planning had to be hidden from the street. Their solution was threefold: Setting the structure back from the building’s facade, making the front of the structure lower than the back, and sinking the floor of the structure down a few feet in order to compensate for the lost ceiling height. The resulting rooftop home is a spectacular example of WORKac’s ability to transform design challenges and constraints into opportunities for unusual and unique workarounds.

RELATED: 8 Amazing Hidden Rooftop Houses You’ve Probably Never Noticed in New York City

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“Our design responds to the structure and its context, foregrounding the historical structure and re-purposing the spaces created by the intersection of old and new to create a combination of intimate and expansive spaces throughout the building,” writes WORKac on their website. The world-renowned design and architecture firm is also known for its work on Diane von Furstenburg’s similarly gem-like residence in the Meatpacking District.

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The three-level penthouse boasts five bedrooms, a sitting room and an expansive living room that opens out onto a sprawling roof terrace with it own spa tub.

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WORKac also worked with artist Michael Hansmeyer to 3D-print new column capitals to replace the original ones on the building’s facade.

Think living at Obsidian House would make your friends jealous? The New York Times points out that the original structure was built in 1857 by brothers Joshua and John Q. Jones, who hailed from the family that first sparked the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”.

+ WORKac

+ Obsidian House

Via the New York Times

Photos: WORKac and Obsidian House