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Historic Tribeca building hides a modern surprise on its roof

The building at 93 Reade Street was redesigned by WORKac

A famed cast-iron building at 93 Reade Street in Tribeca has a secret addition that isn’t visible from street level—and that was essentially the directive given to architecture firm WORKac when they were hired, in 2015, to reconfigure the interiors of this centuries-old building into four apartments. Their work on Obsidian House, as the condo building is now known, is the subject of a recent T, the New York Times Style Magazine piece.

WORKac, helmed by husband-and-wife team Dan Wood and Amale Andraos, was tasked with creating a penthouse addition to the building, which was originally constructed in 1857. But they had one major problem: The building is located within a historic district, and if developers Knightsbridge Properties wanted an addition, they would have to ensure that it wasn’t too tall and would not be visible from street level.

WORKac started innovating—they thought of a structure that would be shorter in the front, and taller at the back, and to deal with a low ceiling level they decided to lower the floor slightly into the floor below. And then they added the jagged, origami-shaped roof, resembling a piece of obsidian, the material that's also the building's namesake.

Now, the condo features three loft-style apartments aside from the triplex penthouse, the latter of which sold for $7.92 million just about a month ago. The original cast-iron structure was built by brothers Joshua and John Q. Jones, from whom the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" originated.