Rethinking the Urban Garden: Broadway Penthouse by Joel Sanders Architect

Joel Sanders Architect’s Broadway Penthouse project offers a unique interpretation of the modern green design aesthetic across 3200 square feet of penthouse space in a 12-story condo building in NoHo.

Joel Sanders Architect’s Broadway Penthouse project offers a unique interpretation of the modern green design aesthetic. The project was completed last year for developer Matthew Blesso’s 3200-square-foot penthouse loft in a 12-story NoHo building. Mr. Sanders’ design concept was to, quite literally, “bring the outside in” and rethink the parameters of the urban garden, a notion which the architect explores in a course he teaches at Yale’s architecture school about integrating nature into design.

The 3100-square-foot loft features a “planted core;” an interior wood staircase is surrounded by vegetation, which rises up through the interior living space and spills out onto a wood-decked roof terrace landscaped with various sedum and grasses. A living green wall graces the master bathroom, surrounds a wooden sink and mirror, and also extends up onto the roof. Natural daylight penetrates into the lower level of the loft through the core to further blur the distinction between outdoor and indoor spaces. The loft’s floors are made from tajibo, a type of South American cork that is FSC-certified.

Landscape and green roof contractor Plant Fantasies played a major role in executing landscape designers Balmori Associates’ vision for the space; the bathroom living wall receives direct sunlight, so the project team specified Pepermonia, a tropical plant that will neither will nor fade due to exposure. The “planter atrium,” around the interior stairwell core, features Bird of Paradise plants with white flowers and two cultivars of Emerald Beauty, among other selections. Mr. Blesso purchased the loft for $4 million and spent $1 million on the renovation.

About Stephen Del Percio

Stephen Del Percio has written for gbNYC+ since 2006 and currently serves as in-house counsel for one of the world's largest engineering, construction, and technical services companies. He earned a B.Eng. from Columbia, his J.D. at William & Mary, and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. You can follow Stephen on Twitter, email him at, or join gbNYC on Facebook to continue the conversation.

about gbNYC

gbNYC is a multi-disciplinary consulting and real estate services firm. In addition to representing office tenants and commercial buyers in leasing and acquisitions, we also provide innovative consulting solutions from a unique, green building perspective. We advise on green building financial incentives, comment on proposed green building marketing strategies, author white papers, treatises, and market analyses, organize seminars on the LEED process and professional accreditation, and provide advice and analysis on green building risk management and the overall state of green real estate, leasing, and construction, in New York City and beyond.

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