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Stealth Building

In a careful blending of contemporary architecture with historic preservation the Stealth Building by WORKac consists of the complete gut renovation of one of New York’s most beautiful and oldest cast iron façades, while adding a sculptural rooftop addition that is “invisible”, meeting the requirements of the New York City’s Landmark Commission.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-02-Bruce-Damonte-759x569 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

The building, located at 93 Reade Street, is now called the Stealth Building because of a new hidden rooftop structure that contains the development’s three-story penthouse. The renovation combines the old iron facade with new material, namely glass fibre reinforced concrete.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-03-Bruce-Damonte-800x1200 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

“This mixed-use property, which is currently occupied by retail and residential lofts, is located in Lower Manhattan’s highly sought after Tribeca neighborhood. Constructed in 1857, it is an exceptional example of the area’s iconic architecture and is the second oldest cast iron building in New York City. Knightsbridge has retained CTS Group preservation architects, as well as the highly regarded design architects, Work AC, to restore and redevelop the building into luxury retail and residential condominiums that are set to redefine loft-style living in Manhattan.” – Knightsbridge Properties

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-05-Bruce-Damonte-800x1200 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

The four-condominium building contains three 1,650-square-foot floor-through apartments, plus a 1,750-square-foot addition that transformed the uppermost unit into a three-level, 3,400-square-foot penthouse. The simplex units below contain WORKac-designed cores that package kitchen, storage, and bathroom spaces in a freestanding volume with additional living space above—a testament to the glory of 13-foot ceilings.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-07-Bruce-Damonte-759x586 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

“Landmarks was definitely the toughest. Because of the low building across the street the rooftop was very visible. When we first looked at it we weren’t sure we could get any rooftop addition. In the end, our ‘shadow’ technique not only netted an additional 1,750 square feet of penthouse but also created a very sculptural form. Landmarks was very happy with this combination.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-11-Bruce-Damonte-800x1200 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

The rest of the building was pretty straightforward. This was our first developer project and there were some interesting discussions with the brokers regarding materials and equipment that we had not had on private residential projects. In the end, though, they provided valuable input and insights into the market that helped make the project successful.” – WORKac

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© Bruce Damonte

“The paint job is not the only disappearing act WORKac conjured. The building has one of the oldest cast-iron facades in New York, featuring a set of Corinthian columns pro – duced by Daniel D. Badger’s Architectural Iron Works, which once stood nearby. Badger’s facades were de rigeur for store – fronts in the neighborhood, which in 1992 was designated the Tribeca South Historic District by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. WORKac’s plans thus needed ap – proval from the Landmarks Commission, which reviews all renovation proposals for consistency with the prevailing character of historic neighborhoods. This meant conceal – ing the additional floors they added to the building’s rooftop, which they accomplished by carefully calculating sight lines from the street and shaping the roof of the addition to con – form to this view envelope. It crinkles out of sight as if hiding.” – Michael Hansmeyer / Artist, Column Capitals

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-19-Bruce-Damonte-759x506 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte


This residential development consists of a complete gut renovation and new construction behind one of New York’s most beautiful and oldest cast-iron facades. It required a careful approach to the blending of contemporary architecture with historic preservation. New York City’s Landmarks Commission required any rooftop addition to be invisible. The building, however, is located on a highly-visible corner with a low, two-story building across the street. This meant that the building’s roof was visible from almost three blocks away.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-20-Bruce-Damonte-759x506 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

Tracing the cone of vision from the furthest point from which the building was visible, WORKac utilized three rooftop projections to mask the bulk of an addition: the triangular pediment of the historic Carey Building next door, and the circular pediment and an abandoned elevator bulkhead at the top of the building itself. The “shadow” created by these three projections created a sizeable zone for the addition and the opportunity for a distinctive angled form for the new roof. The result is a sculptural form that is – at the same time – completely invisible from the street below.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-21-Bruce-Damonte-759x610 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

For the apartment interiors and public area, WORKac created spaces that combine nature-inspired elements and systems with new ideas about urban living. From the tessellated green wall at the lobby to generous planters and balconies at the second, sixth and seventh floors, connections to the outdoors are emphasized. Within each apartment, a “third space” between bedrooms and living spaces is created at the top of the volume containing storage and bathrooms. Less than four-feet high, this “bonsai apartment” is outfitted with a futon, seating areas, and an herb garden above the kitchen. Its main feature is a fern garden connected to the master shower below. Steam from the shower collects on the glass walls of the garden and waters the plants.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-23-Bruce-Damonte-759x969 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

The penthouse combines sleeping spaces and a family room within the old fifth floor of the building with new entertaining and dining spaces under the new roof at the sixth floor. A secluded terrace is sunken behind the pediment with views to the Woolworth Building; the old elevator bulkhead is repurposed with a hot tub. The height afforded by angle formed by the cone-of-vision allows for a rear mezzanine with views toward downtown and the Freedom Tower.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-25-Bruce-Damonte-759x569 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

The 1857 façade is completely restored. The new charcoal color chosen by WORKac references the building’s history of being painted in dark contrast with its lighter neighbors. As all of the building’s Corinthean column capitols had been lost to history, WORKac collaborated with the artist Michael Hansmeyer to create new versions. Hansmeyer created a computer script that allowed the classical floral elements of the Corinthean order to “grow” fractally, resulting in a new design that adheres to the old proportions but is composed of clearly new forms and idiosyncrasies. Like the rooftop addition, these capitals at first glance appear quite ordinary; it is only on closer inspection that the stealthy strategy of strategic injection of contemporary design becomes clear.

Stealth-Building-By-WORKac-26-Bruce-Damonte-759x569 Stealth Building / WORKac

© Bruce Damonte

Project Data:

Project name: Stealth Building
Location: 93 Reade St New York, NY 10013, United States
Coordinates: 40.715506, -74.007938

  • Type By Characteristic: Renovation / Expansion / Extension : House
  • Type By Site: City / Town House
  • Type By Size: Large House – (more than 650 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Concrete House

Floor count: 7
Project area: 14,000 sq.ft / 1,260 sqm – 3,400 sq.ft / 316 sqm (penthouse unit)
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2016


  • 2017 – ArchDaily Building of the Year Award – Category: Refurbishment – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Knightsbridge Properties – 68 Thomas Street New York, NY 10013,  United States

  • WORKac – 156 Ludlow St, Fl 3rd, New York NY, United States

Interior Designer: WORKac

Project Team:

  • Dan Wood, FAIA, Amale Andraos (principals); Sam Dufaux (associate principal); Karl Landsteiner (construction administration project architect); Chris Oliver (design project architect); Maggie Tsang, Timo Otto, Patrick Daurio

Project Manager: Sam Dufaux
Construction Manager: Knightsbridge Properties


  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: Plus Group Consulting Engineering
  • Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates


  • Landscape Architect: WORKac
  • Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
  • Restoration Architect: CTS Group
  • Artist, Column Capitals: Michael Hansmeyer
  • Code Consultant: CCBS Consulting

Selected suppliers & subcontractors, Manufacturers:

  • Manufacturers: Bisazza, Bosch, Duravit, FRANKE, Firestone Building Products, Hansgrohe, Virtual Service, Desu Design, Moroso, Viking Undercounter, Metalline, Da Vinci, GreenGrid, Best Range Hood, Zucchetti, EDM, MTI, Viking Built, Viking

Text Description: © Courtesy of WORKac, Michael Hansmeyer, Knightsbridge Properties
Images: © WORKac, Bruce Damonte


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