equinox, greenwich village flagship

New York, NY | 40,000 SF | 2002

When Equinox, a luxury fitness company, wanted to enlarge a deteriorating Greenwich Village movie theater into a new flagship health club, the design challenge was to express Equinox’s particular contemporary program—a chic, strong, up-scale fitness and health center—in a building appropriate to the Greenwich Village Historic District. Local groups called on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for a “classical” building complete with dentils, pilasters, and red brick. PBDW was hired to deliver a design that would simultaneously meet Equinox’s programmatic and aesthetic needs, offer an exterior that would respect and complement its place in this sensitive historic district, and gain the approval of the LPC.  

Our design settled the health club into the neighborhood in a distinctly modern brick, metal, and glass building that respects its context. Sensitive to the scale, proportion, and material use, the design was unanimously approved by the LPC. We proportioned the façade openings to reflect the proportions of the houses in the row to which the new building extends. Revealed in the openings are the structural muscle and bone of the building framing the clear glass of the enclosure. Large glass panels flood the interior with light through its windows and its inverted skylight during the day, and gently glows on the street by night. The facility is immensely popular both for its programs and for its architecture. While the facility was under construction, it attracted more than 1,000 new members.