Full renovation of a 200-unit condominium building on the waterfront in Edgewater, New Jersey.




Speculative construction throughout America has resulted in a trend of generic construction which maximizes profit margins for developers, but minimizes overall user experience. Though this three-building condominium complex had been built only a few years before this project, the disregard for detail and user experience in the original design necessitated a massive $10-million renovation and de-spec. The project included the renovation of three lobbies, as well as the addition of a lounge, children’s playroom, roof garden and four model apartments which allow potential buyers to envision their lifestyles adapted and reflected in the materials and design of their home.

Situated along the waterfront of New Jersey, this condominium complex witnesses phenomenal views of the sunrise behind the New York skyline, as well as the sunset across New Jersey. The name of this project, the ‘Peninsula’, was selected as a derivation of site. After the emergence of modernism and the rise of suburbia in the face of increased demand for low-cost housing, residential development tended towards simple, generic construction of homes clad with various decorative styles including ‘French Normandy’, ‘Tudor’, and ‘Georgian’. This resulted in dislocated architectural identities which failed to reflect site, as well as indigenous styles and methods of construction. As such, the solution for this project necessarily hinged on the idea that a new ‘American modern’ could be imagined and redefined by a more authentic vocabulary, offering a redirect on the styles that influence generic building construction.

As the forefront of the buildings, the lobbies were treated to produce the experience of entering into the cavernous belly of the palisades cliffside. The lobby, clad with stone, leads into a hallway dimmed to accentuate the North-South openings which frame views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline. The apartment units were designed in three different schemes, each recalling different regions and materials, as opposed to styles and periods. These schemes include Pacific (walnut), Atlantic (cherry) and Nordic (oak). The three options of wood define the major architectural difference among units, and are determined by the specific layout and location of the apartments within the building. For instance, in a North-facing apartment, a warm, cherry wood might be selected to balance the cool northern light, whereas a Nordic oak scheme might be used in a South-facing apartment to balance the yellowness of the light.

Throughout the rest of the buildings, the space is designed to feel comfortable and relaxed for both the tenants and the employees. The lounge was built as a sophisticated social environment allowing for multiple programs, for example, where tenants might host parties, watch television or play pool. The children’s playroom also provides another social space in the building, and incorporates a variety of primary forms and textures to support sensory activity and developmental growth.