Built in 1978, Paul Rudolph’s penthouse apartment and office at 23 Beekman Place has become an icon for this legendary architect’s distinctive ideas about form, materials and lifestyle. Rudolph maintained the apartment as an ongoing experiment until his death in 1997, relentlessly altering its design and ultimately creating a series of many projects in one home. In 2004 Della Valle Bernheimer was asked by the new owner to restore and update the project. Previous renovations completed after Rudolph’s death were unsympathetic to the original, with a recent renovation having been halted midstream with only demolition and plumbing rough-in complete. The new owner wanted to modernize the apartment and, despite the lack of a single historic design reference, we took on the daunting task of creating the contemporary progeny of Rudolph’s designs. In-depth documentation of previous design iterations, along with the rigorous examination and understanding of Rudolph’s design principles, resulted in a reinterpretation rather than a traditional renovation. The resulting design is an extrapolation of how Paul Rudolph might have continued his experiments—given modern innovations and new technology. 23 Beekman (and Della Valle Bernheimer) won an Interiors Honor Award from the AIA NY Chapter in 2007 and an Award of Merit from the AIA New York State in 2008.
(in collaboration with Jared Della Valle)
Photography by Richard Barnes