Floor-to-ceiling windows, expansive river views, and access to a landscaped rooftop—these sought-after elements are hard to find in most Manhattan buildings, let alone every unit within one. But Interior Design Hall of Fame member Deborah Berke, and her team at Deborah Berke Partners, collaborated with architects from FXCollaborative to change that.
Next fall, a skyscraper housing luxury condominiums is expected to open at 77 Greenwich Street in the Financial District. The 42-story building features a façade of pleated, crystalline panoramic windows that afford each unit a river view. The building also marks the first foray into lower Manhattan for Berke’s New York-based architecture and interior design firm, known for its interiors at 432 Park Avenue. “I’m a native New Yorker, and this building has a unique opportunity to see both the harbor and the rest of Manhattan; it’s very special,“ Berke tells Interior Design in an exclusive interview.
Stretching above the New York harbor and Battery Park, 77 Greenwich is a nod to the rapidly changing neighborhood around it. In the 18 years since September 11 forever changed the city’s landscape, the area has seen a rejuvenation of businesses, restaurants, art, and community. In many ways, 77 Greenwich, which houses a school on the lower levels and neighbors a historic building, serves as a microcosm for the area.
The building’s interiors reflect the polarities of its construction: feet on the ground, head in the air. The reception area at the base of the building is outfitted with darker-toned, natural materials to anchor visitors to the bedrock beneath it, including Jet Mist Granite stone flooring and a blackened-steel concierge desk. The residential spaces, which start on the 15th floor, take on an airier feel with light-filled rooms, ceilings in excess of 10 feet, and white oak flooring. “The inspiration started with light, the harbor, the views,” says Berke. “The idea is that you’re up high, and it feels like you’re up high.”
Each of the 90 condominium residences, which range from one to four bedrooms, embody Berke’s distinct style, melding minimalistic design elements with a warm aesthetic. The units include custom Deborah Berke Partners-designed Poliform kitchen cabinets with state-of-the-art appliances, complete with Blue de Savoie marble countertops and backsplashes. Each room flows seamlessly into the next, from the warm gray Haisa marble floors in the master bathroom to the custom-carved and polished Calacatta Lincoln sink bowl in the powder room.
Berke's experience creating custom houses for clients informed her design choices. “If you collect art that’s very colorful our finishes and designs serve as a background, but if you yourself are a minimalist then the stones we’ve selected and the design of the millwork, and even the appliances then can become more foreground,” says Berke. “I think the success of the design, is that the materials, the compositions, the kitchen cabinet, and the millwork all can be either foreground or background.”
The building also includes sky-high amenities, such as landscaped terraces, designed by Future Green Studio, a dog run, a fitness center, a Resident’s Lounge, a private dining room with catering kitchen, and a rooftop observation deck. “Everybody shares the best views,” Berke adds.
“When designing rooftops in the city, it’s really about the micro-climate,” says David Seiter, principal and design director at Future Green Studio, who noted the unique challenges of rooftop landscaping, such as wind exposure.
To mitigate these challenges, the terraces at 77 Greenwich are outfitted with six-foot-tall wind screens. The plant-life itself, which includes grasses and perennials, mimics the nearby beachy environment of Fire Island. “It’s a wild landscape—it’s not meant to be tidy or formal,” says Seiter. The rooftop oasis offers residents a calming space to relax, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city streets below.
Read more: 10 Questions With... Deborah Berke