Alexander Gorlin Architects was invited to modernize and add an additional top floor to a rare 1950s glass-fronted, two-story family townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. A large, open living area on the first floor leads through to a kitchen overlooking the rear garden. Cantilevered stairs, flooded by daylight from a large skylight, lead to the parents’ master bedroom and two children’s rooms on the second floor, and continue to a media room and two offices on the top floor.
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Whether designing homes, houses of worship, or institutional buildings, Alexander Gorlin believes in ennobling the people who inhabit his spaces.
A modernist who cites Le Corbusier as a major influence, the Manhattan architect is known for his streamlined, often glass-and-steel structures that also embody a warmly serene aesthetic. From the recent renovation of Louis Kahn’s Temple Beth El in Chappaqua, New York, to the upcoming restoration and repositioning of Eero Saarinen’s Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, Gorlin’s projects prioritize “human experience, comfort, materiality, and sustainability,” he says.
An esteemed curator and scholar, he has written several books, and his latest, Kabbalah in Art and Architecture(Pointed Leaf Press, 2013), explores how the ideas behind ancient mystical teachings can be seen in contemporary design. “I don’t want to represent myself as a residential mystic,” Gorlin says, “but those aspects of Kabbalah that include light and space are parallel to my work.”
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