CetraRuddy, the New York architecture and interior design firm and architect of the highly acclaimed One Madison Park, is currently working on the conversion of Walker Tower at 212 W. 18th Street in New York City. CetraRuddy is repositioning this 1929 Art Deco treasure originally designed for commercial purposes by the pre-eminent American architect Ralph Walker into a stunning high end luxury condominium scheduled for completion early next year.
CetraRuddy's sensitive approach to the exterior included the restoration of the original structure as well as the integration of new fabric at several levels. The firm's design captures the Art Deco spirit of Walker's soaring original creation while interpreting the era in innovative ways, striving to bring into each home maximum sunlight and views, and reimagining interior space suited to a contemporary lifestyle.
“Our challenge for the conversion of Walker Tower was to reflect the history and bones of this exquisite pre-war building while creating intelligent living spaces that appeal to contemporary home buyers,” said John Cetra, founding principal of CetraRuddy. “In addition to creating smart floor plans, we sought to maximize daylight and views, creating a new Art Deco character.”
For new masonry elements, CetraRuddy implemented a four-color blend of bricks to simulate the original palette. The bricks were made in custom shapes to create formal geometries similar to those found in the original building. Also, CetraRuddy added elegantly scaled windows that span between piers and enlarged all existing openings to create floor-to-ceiling windows that are well proportioned both to the building's exterior and to the rooms within.
Intricately faceted multistory stainless steel pilasters, tinted in a subtle bronze color are set between large floor to ceiling window openings and existing masonry piers at various setback levels. Their micro embossed finish will reflect the sun and sky in infinite ways, changing color and reflectivity as the sun moves through the sky. Spandrel panels were custom fabricated out of built-up aluminum sections and finished to emulate the nickel silver detailing found in the building's entrance.
Walker's original design concept included an ornamental crown that was never built. In tribute to Walker's vision, CetraRuddy designed a spectacular crown, using a two-toned metal palette to emulate the original statuary bronze and nickel silver, Art Deco motifs found at the building's entrance and lobby.
Inspired by the spirit of Walker's original design, CetraRuddy also re-imagined the public spaces in the building. The faceted form of the lobby is capped by a decorative frieze and original murals designed for the project. Sculpted bronze elevator doors have been designed to reinforce the historic vernacular of the building. An eight-foot high chandelier anchors and centers the space.
Just off the lobby, the residents' library lounge is a grand, wood-paneled space with deep coffered ceilings. An exposed steel column pays homage to the building's structure and history, and creates a dialogue with a custom designed zinc and wood library table. Custom designed bronze and glass sliding screens enclose the space for private functions.
“To honor the scale and proportion of the building, we sought to capture the best of pre-war planning and modern loft-like living,” said Nancy J. Ruddy, managing principal and director of interior design of CetraRuddy. “We utilized exquisite materials to give each space a sense of grandeur while we installed finishes and fixtures to offer warmth and sophistication.”
Fifty residences offer elegantly proportioned open floor plans and impressive 12 to 14 foot ceilings showcasing dramatic views. CetraRuddy designed details include ebonized eight foot doors and custom antique bronze hardware, rare stepped ceilings and custom-stained French herringbone floors. Every room offers radiant heat flooring for maximum comfort and ducted air conditioning with added humidification.
Many of the kitchens offer art glass and metal enclosures that can open the space to the living room, or provide separation for entertaining. Iron spot backsplashes and honed Calacatta countertops lend a rich, warm feel to the gracious Smallbone kitchens and dining rooms.
Master baths feature hand-cut mosaic marble floors with a Deco-inspired chevron border. Vanities have been designed as dressing tables, with nickel framed, opaque glass doors. A freestanding nickel and porcelain Waterworks soaking tub is framed by a full-length nickel-leaf mirror and sconces to create an elegant drama. Powder rooms are jewel boxes with ebonized wood paneling, custom patterned stone floors, and a sculpted stone vanity accented by a glass bell pendant light.
Walker Tower is a unique and extraordinary combination of the best of downtown living and gracious pre-war planning with luxuriously elegant modern amenities.
For more information, visit www.cetraruddy.com.