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Skyhouse by David Hotson and Ghislaine Viñas

A tubular steel slide plummets through four storeys inside this penthouse apartment in New York by architect David Hotson (+ slideshow).

The apartment occupies the uppermost storeys of a late nineteenth century tower in lower Manhattan and had never been used as a residence before, so David Hotson was able to restructure the entire volume to create a quadruple-height living room, a glazed attic, indoor balconies and the two-stage slide.

"The penthouse involved a complete re-imagining of the interior and all of the remarkable relationships between this space and the vertical cityscape around it," Hotson told Dezeen.

This cityscape includes Frank Gehry's rippled residential tower next-door and the Chrysler Building in the distance.

The slide starts at the very top of the apartment - an attic room surrounded by glass - and is slotted into a circular hole so residents can safely climb inside and start their descent.

Above: photograph is by Eric Laignel

It's made from polished stainless steel, giving it a mirrored surface.

After winding around a column and through a window, the slide comes to a brief stop on the next floor down.

Residents can either get out and access the rooms on this floor, or clamber back inside and spiral down through three more floors.

At the end of the slide, the stainless steel surface fans out to create a rectangular funhouse mirror at the edge of the living room.

If they don't fancy using the slide, residents can always walk down through a faceted stairwell.

"This is a complex interior with a number of dramatic elements," Hotson explained.

Above: photograph is by Eric Laignel

"The four-storey stairwell twists up through the centre of the apartment while the four-storey-slide provides a quick trip back down."

Above: photograph is by Eric Laignel

The architect collaborated with interior designer Ghislaine Viñas, who added all of the furniture and artworks throughout the apartment.

Above: photograph is by Eric Laignel

These furnishings include a floral-printed "nest", which is accessed across a bridge, and bright green breakfast area with a spherical chandelier overhead.

The riveted steel columns of the building cut up through some of the spaces, while others feature arched windows that line up with the original facades.

Buildings with slides as well as stairs have cropped up on Dezeen a few times over the years.

Others include the Denmark office of toy brand Lego and a house with a concrete slide in Indonesia.

Above: photograph is by Eric Laignel

See more slides on Dezeen »

Above: photograph is by Eric Laignel

Photography is by the architect, apart from where stated otherwise.

Here's some more information from David Hotson:


Occupying a four-story penthouse structure at the summit of an early skyscraper and commanding astonishing views of the surrounding Lower Manhattan cityscape, this project creates a breathtaking contemporary home in the sky.

As the collaborative brainchild of architect David Hotson and interior designer Ghislaine Viñas, the project pairs Hotson's crisply delineated spaces and rigorous architectural detailing with the vibrant colors, playful references and startling juxtapositions that are signatures of Viñas' work.

The residence features a four-story high entry hall spanned by structural glass bridges and illuminated by ingenious skylights borrowing light from upper level rooms, a fifty-foot tall living room ascended by climbing holds anchored to the central column, and a mirror-polished stainless steel slide that coils down through rooms and over stairways before it flares out to form a distorted wall at one end of the entry gallery.

Juxtaposed with this spatial drama, Viñas' incandescent colors, startling overscaled floral patterns, whimsical menagerie of animal forms, tongue-in-cheek lighting fixtures and sly pop-cultural references create a playful and lighthearted foil to the vertiginous architecture.

The design exploits its theatrical location by capturing framed views of the iconic buildings and bridges of the surrounding cityscape at a range of scales, from the dramatic skylight in the private elevator vestibule which frames the top of the new Beekman Tower by Frank Gehry looming above, to the intimate peephole in the guest bedroom shower which captures the glow of the Chrysler Building seventy blocks to the north.

The historic riveted steel structure - among the earliest steel frames used in a New York skyscraper - is exposed as it weaves through the occupied spaces at all levels.

All these elements are woven into the enveloping prototypical house form of the historic penthouse - with its steep hipped roof, chimneys and projecting dormer windows - creating the startling impression of a magical house suspended midway in the vertical cityscape of Lower Manhattan.

Above: photograph is by Build Pictures

Above: long section - click for larger image

Above: cross section though living room one - click for larger image

Above: cross section through living room two - click for larger image

Above: cross section through entry stairwell - click for larger image

Above: west elevation

Above: east elevation

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