The Penthouse was designed as an urban sanctuary for a single woman needing a low-maintenance alternative to a traditional home. Concerned that the large, open volume spaces of the raw penthouse felt intimidating in scale, she requested a design that evoked a sense of intimacy. To maintain the comfort she felt in an old Northwest house, our intention was to create a collection of comfortably scaled spaces without making a warren of rooms.
Floating walls, partitions and smaller volumes penetrate and float beneath floors to establish various levels of intimacy while maintaining openness. Large screening elements were used to organize the plan, breaking down the scale without solid walls. Wood shadowboxes connect the two floors and establish architectural relationships between spaces; also displaying art and personal objects. Living areas are pulled in from the curtain wall, directing the gaze outward and embracing spectacular views beyond without focusing on the city below.
From the top floor of the high-rise building, establishing a connection to nature was essential. Here, nature is expressed in the form of light. The open grid of the screen wall and the layering of rooms, allows filtered light to flow in, tracking the passage of time.
To unify the interiors, all veneers were cut from two black walnut trees, bleached and stained either dark or light. The choice of natural wood and industrial steel finishes are complimented by a limited palette of materials and furnishings, creating a spare interior that is warm and visually calm.