Upper Westside CO-OP

This 2,000 square foot communal roof garden atop Chester Court, a 1920s Italian Renaissance co-op building designed by the influential and prolific architect Emery Roth, was created when the building’s smaller and much loved roof garden had to be removed for necessary roofing work.

RKLA salvaged some of the garden’s original plantings (apple trees, wisteria, and roses) and consolidated the exposed pipes to the perimeter. This infrastructure reorganization tripled the available roof garden area, providing spaces for private retreats and group gatherings in the design. The new garden’s perimeter wood fence was set back behind the parapet and piping, both for safety and so the terrace is invisible from the street. Two pergolas were located near the roof’s two access points to create shaded gathering places, while a raised wood deck at one end of the L-shaped terrace highlights southern views across Manhattan.

Incorporating reused plant material gave the garden had a lushness and maturity it wouldn’t have had with just new plantings. Further, RKLA added new outdoor furniture that complements the new elements as well as the co-op’s existing furniture. Throughout, old and new merge so the distinction between the two is invisible.

Francine Fleischer

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