Columbus Circle Duplex

Columbus Circle Duplex

Peter Aaron / OTTO

Located in the Time Warner Center, this duplex apartment has sweeping views of the city and Central Park to the Northeast. The original layout chopped up the view, so architect Joel Sanders sought to “liberate the curtain wall” with a series of smart interventions, changes in section and materials, and changeable walls and furniture, which create distinct spaces within an open plan.

Sanders has long played with peekaboo bathrooms and voyeuristic views in designs for hotels and bachelor pads. “For a long time it was about exploring new models of domesticity, often for alternative lifestyles,” Sanders said. This client, however, is a nuclear family, a husband and wife and two children who split their time between New York and the Netherlands. “It’s a sign of the times that these ideas have become more mainstream,” he said.


On the apartment’s first floor, Sanders created two distinctive seating areas, built around a custom double-sided sofa. One faces out toward the park, on a plush brown carpet, which is meant to link the interior to the park, while a painted midnight purple ceiling evokes the sky (the client insisted on a color scheme that included purple and bright yellow, which appear as accents throughout the apartment). The other side faces back into the apartment as well as a small media area. The area furthest from the view is a work/kitchen/storage area wrapped in warm wood, divided by a translucent service core that features a desk peninsula with built-in data and electric. The dining area, which also faces the view, has a polished white concrete floor. This trio of materials—carpet, wood, and concrete—is used throughout the apartment to define areas of comfort, areas of dining and bathing, or areas of work and storage. An angled cove with inset lighting cuts through the ceiling plane, reinforcing the different zones within the open plan.


The wood used in the kitchen area wraps up the stairs to the second level where it runs across the floor and frames a discreet desk area. The master suite subdivides into three bedrooms with sliding walls. One sleeping area is a murphy bed hidden behind a built-in sofa. In the bathrooms, switchable glass walls blink from translucent to transparent in a flash, offering views out to the park or total privacy with the flip of a wrist.

For a contemporary family with international addresses, the flexible design allows for moments of togetherness and solitude, views out to the city beyond and reflective moments within the serenity of the apartment—just how many want to live today.