History and Culture of Palette Architecture
Peter Miller (Partner, AIA Leed) is originally from Indiana, son of a family of craftsmen, entrepreneurs, and tinkerers. He treasures the creative process of turning ideas into physical forms. He is grateful for the privilege of making space for others and the effects it has on their lives. People and buildings mutually influence each other. Peter believes that “architecture strengthens society when it reflects the mission of the people it serves.” Peter is a registered architect with over 15 years of experience. His portfolio includes major cultural institutions, master plans, parks, and signature houses.
John Sunwoo (Partner, AIA Leed) has been passionate about architecture’s positive impact on individuals and communities since a young age. As a teenager, John was involved in two volunteer home-building trips to informal settlements in the outskirts of Tijuana. While at MIT, he was part of the House_n research lab, studying the possibilities for embedded technology to improve domestic life. These early experiences sparked an ongoing interest in the power of architecture to create the conditions for meaningful and memorable interactions. Prior to forming Palette Architecture, John had worked in world-renowned architectural practices, including SOM and Rafael Vinoly Architects.
Jeff Wandersman (Partner, AIA Leed) found his way to architecture from a background in social sciences and fine art. Creating designed spaces that facilitate human activity and interaction was an ideal way to combine these interests. He is attracted to the creative problem-solving required to bring projects from concept to fruition and enjoys the human dynamic of collaboration with clients, consultants and builders. He has prior work experience in general contracting and brings this understanding to his design sensibility and oversight of the construction process. Jeff is a registered architect in the state of New York. Most of his career has been spent working on projects in New York City where his work extends from residential to restaurant, retail, and co-living projects. He also has experience with award-winning projects in China, Rwanda, Nepal, and the Hudson River Valley.
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Jeremy is an Architect from New Zealand that got the opportunity to work with Palette Architecture in New York City back in 2019 until early 2020. Now he is in Australia in Brisbane working with Blight Rayner Architecture since mid 2020, and he has been enjoying applying some of the skills he was able to improve while working in New York City with Palette.
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As you scroll through the following three projects they have created, consider all of these design techniques and ideas they have implemented.
Palette Architecture Selected Projects
Located on Creston Avenue in the Bronx, this 25-family development rests atop a natural granite outcropping. The natural topography rises a dramatic 35′ in height across the narrow lot. The building’s mass negotiates the challenges of the site by avoiding disturbance to the existing rocky conditions. The design allows the project to remain affordable while adding beautiful natural elements to the building. The natural rock face cascading through the building’s entry portico creates a sense of separation and floating for the dwellings above.
Beyond the street, the natural grade creates a variety of interior and exterior spaces. Each of the first three floors has a unique floor layout and relationship to the ground. Some units are adjacent to the beautiful, sunken, common court, some overhang the vibrant streetscape, and others open onto private terraces overlooking the rear garden. The layout of each unit carefully balances the natural topography while maximizing the usefulness of the interior space.
Photos by Palette Architecture
On the north side, the building lifts up and breaks the tree line to reach out towards cars passing on the highway. The elevated portion of the building at this end gives it a greater prominence to be viewed from a distance. The building’s sloping topography provides dynamic views as one moves around it, at times feeling a part of the surrounding landscape or alternatively becoming a substantial architectural landscape. The building’s glass facades and lattice columns maintain an airiness and visual transparency even with the large scale of the form.
The Seed Pavilion moves from being fully submerged at its south end to being lifted ten meters above grade at the north. The shifting elevations and dynamic floors provide a multiplicity of experiences. The relationship of the building to landscape constantly changes as one moves through and around the pavilion. The four larger structural courts contain floors allocated to building staff and researchers, allowing them a degree of privacy in the otherwise continuous open space within the building.
Photos by Palette Architecture
The Push | House is a significant horizontal and vertical enlargement of a two-story masonry townhouse. The renovation nearly triples the size of the original structure by adding 3 stories and a rear horizontal extension. The owners and their two children wanted to expand their own residence and decided to maximize the lot’s available development rights to create additional rental units above. The owner unit occupies the basement, ground floor and half of the 2nd floor while four additional units are situated on the upper floors.
The addition is deferential to the existing building that dates back over 100 years, maintaining the front façade’s apertures, ornamentation and cornice. To differentiate the more modern addition it sets back at the third story just beyond the cornice; the materiality and patterning transition at this level. On the rear façade the triplex owner unit is pushed in to provide a shaded connection to the rear yard. The duplex penthouse has a large sloped glazing that focuses views up towards the sky.
Photos by Palette Architecture
Do not forget that we will be posting more work by Palette Architecture in the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out for more of their incredible work!! Every Friday we will be posting a new Featured Company, so join us again next week!