The Harlem Terrace: Introducing Nature to an Urban City

This gorgeous terrace overlooks Central Park and the NYC Skyline. Photo By Hariri & Hariri
This gorgeous terrace overlooks Central Park and the NYC Skyline.
Photo By Hariri & Hariri

The Harlem Terrace is a stunning outdoor retreat, on the 13th floor, in the heart of New York City that has amazing views of Central Park and the NYC skyline. The architects Hariri & Hariri wanted to do something special for the homeowners and bring nature into an urban setting.

This versatile space is the perfect retreat from the daily grind of the city and away from neighbors. Measuring 18ft by 29ft, this terrace gives the homeowner 522 square feet of private outdoor living space, that’s larger than a lot apartments in the city!

The design is geometric with a railing that’s 4.5 feet high, an angled covered area for dining, and leveled seating that can be doubled as planter boxes. The walls blend into the flooring since it’s all constructed out of Ipe for a truly seamless look and lighting is strategically placed through the structure to provide a soft light for the evenings.

Just about everyone knows how extreme the weather is in New York City. The winters are cold and in one year the city can receive up to 26.7 inches of snow! The summers are hot and humid. The Big Apple also suffers from urban heat island, this is when a metropolitan area is considerably warmer due to a lot of human activity. All of these element factor into a material’s durability.

With the weather change being so extreme in New York City, a material for the Harlem Terrace had to be selected that would outperform all others. When softer woods such as pine or cedar are exposed to extreme weather changes, it causes the wood to expand and contract. The grains are not as dense and tight on these types of woods either and moisture gets trapped inside, freezes and cracks the board.

When a wood like Ipe is chosen for an application such as this, there’s not doubt it will outperform and outlast all other materials. Even composites don’t stand a chance. In the summer time, the 13th floor can get pretty hot. The heat begins to break down the material, and sometimes even releases a plastic smell. Gross! You wont have to worry about that with Ipe, it’s a natural product that provides your urban home with a touch of nature.

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