Prospect Heights Row House

When we found this Prospect Heights row house, its collapsing floors were unrentable, so it acted as a dog kennel. But even before its decline, it suffered from common row house ailments: dark in the middle and spatially flat. We solved both problems by carving out the center of the house. The resulting void is a double-height dining room. Daylight pours down from from a long slot in the roof. A two-story pylon wrapped in copper acts as a foil to the void, while serving multiple functions: a privacy screen for the foyer, a coat closet, a shoe bench, and a storage cabinet. We arrayed the rooms on both floors around the sunny dining room, with a catwalk on the top floor connecting the bedrooms. To disperse the natural light, one bedroom wall is just open shelving; the other, corrugated polycarbonate.

photos: Catherine Tighe, Hulya Kolabas