A glazed three-wall box rooflight supplied by Glazing Vision has provided a stunning 21st century addition to this Washington Heights property in north Manhattan, helping to successfully unlock that all-important roof top space in this metropolitan city.
Built in 1899, set on a plot of 1,911ft² and offering almost 3600ft² of internal space, the property presented an eclectic mix of original features – very high ceilings complete with decorative mouldings, huge windows, as well as a plethora of rich historical fittings and fixtures.
Dixon Projects, together with the local architect RMF Bryant, worked to produce a combination the old with the new in this grandiose house right from the basement to the roof. Keen to utilise the huge space on the flat roof top as well as to add further value to the property, Dixon was looking for an innovative and contemporary ‘glass box’. This needed to maximise the amount of natural daylight coming into the floor below whilst offering easy access to the terrace. A lack of suitable options from American glazing suppliers led Dixon Projects to look abroad. Following extensive research and an on-site meeting with Glazing Vision’s senior management, Dixon Projects decided upon Glazing Vision’s three-wall box rooflight, which offered both the high quality and technical features that they were seeking.
Approval from the Landmarks Preservation Committee (LPC) had to be secured for the box rooflight as the house was a listed property; a critical requirement to this was that it should not be visible from the roadside/pathways. Once approved, the box rooflight was then precision-engineered to the size required by the client, manufactured entirely at Glazing Vision’s factory in Suffolk, England, pre-assembled, crated and finally shipped to Dixon Projects in NYC. In addition, the installation of the box rooflight, including pre-install surveys and remedial building work to ensure the surrounding walls on the roof top were straight, were all supervised by Glazing Vision’s own office in the US.
The box rooflight was fixed onto three walls without the need for additional balustrading, thereby facilitating the full use of the roof top terrace. The lack of visible kerb fixings through the use of an extruded external clip-on cover, together with the sleek aluminium framework in a classic slate grey exterior finish and the perfectly edged glass-to-glass joints combined to create a stunning, contemporary ‘glass sculpture’ to the top of this grand property.
A critical consideration for Dixon Projects was that the box rooflight should be simple and safe to operate. The retractable glazed section, which slides over the fixed section of glass, is operated at the touch of a button. This provides a clear 50% opening and sufficient head height for easy access. Thus, the resident can climb the stairwell whilst the rooflight is retracting into its open position, without having to ‘bow their head’. The secure manual override also detects movement during the open/close operation to provide the essential safety features.
As with the floor-to-ceiling windows on the lower floors, so too the large glazed sections of the box rooflight were in keeping with the airy aesthetic that Dixon Projects had created throughout the house.
The box rooflight ensured that the interior of the upper floor of the house was flooded with natural daylight during the day.
At night, the resident could enjoy an unadulterated view of the night sky.
The full expanse of the rooftop now provides the resident with an additional ‘room with a view’: an enviable place to entertain guests, to dine in the open and to relax.