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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
January 2013
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: A Pre-War Apartment in NYC

Architectural Firm of the Month: Platt Dana Architects

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Devonian Stone paving stones Welcome to the January issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it. If you are chosen, we will feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter, and highlight your firm as well. To learn more about our "high-end" cut-to-size Glacier Blue® Devonian Sandstone products, please click here to visit our website.
Architectural Firm of the Month: Platt Dana Architects
 Platt Dana 1
Hope Dana holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Columbia University School of Architecture, and prior to starting her own practice was a staff architect at I M Pei & Partners and at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.  Kate Platt holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Virginia School Of Architecture. Before starting her own practice, she served as Project Architect in the New York office of Gensler and Associates as well as in the office of Skidmore Owings and Merrill, where she and Hope first collaborated. Hope is licensed to practice Architecture in Connecticut and New York State, and Kate is licensed in New York State.  
For more Information:


Platt Dana 2 Renovating an apartment in a pre-war building in New York City is quite a task, and one that architect Hope Dana of Platt Dana Architects takes on regularly. A recent project involved the gut renovation of a 3,000 square foot apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that took 18 months to complete.

Dana explains, "It took us six months of work to come up with that plan. We had to get a building permit, hire a contractor and then it was ten months of construction. The whole place was rebuilt, every wall was taken down, all new electrical was put in, all new wood flooring, all new mouldings, and all new doors."

That was the tough part of the job. The decorative part came a bit easier, as it seems to fall within the formula that Platt Dana applies to many of their projects.

When looking at their portfolio, it's easy to recognize many of the design elements that repeat from one residence to another and that perhaps make up the firm's "signature" style. Color is one of these, or lack thereof in this case.

The architects at Platt Dana tend to rely heavily on a palette of white, and an entire range of shades closely resembling white, including off-whites, ecru, cream, beige, sand and pale grays in shades too numerous to count. The reason is simple: lighter colors add a sense of space to a small room. Manhattan apartments in older buildings are not known for their spaciousness, so the responsibility to make the interior look and feel larger would naturally fall to the architect hired to design the space. Furthermore, the conservative palette may be the most appealing to the firm's upscale Manhattan clientele.

Built-in bookcases are a common design element in Platt Dana's projects. A quick glance at one of their residences shows there is a plain bookcase in at least one or two of the rooms. It's an easy design fix, taking up most if not an entire wall in a room, and it's functional to boot, providing necessary storage space for books and knick-knacks.

Strategically placed rounded-shaped pendant lights are another one of Platt Dana's core design elements. Whether hovering artfully from a living room ceiling or over a kitchen table, these light fixtures add a modern touch to these older spaces and provide a somewhat whimsical accent to a room that otherwise leans toward the plain and traditional. Dana adds, "We look to punctuate our rooms with sculptural elements."

The combination of many shades of not-quite-white, built-in bookcases, simple lines and creative lighting actually comprise a safe set of elements that are applied to many different residences. This helps keep the decorative part of the process simple while Dana can concentrate more heavily on what she deems the more important aspect of the design, which is the space itself.

Dana explains, "We are more interested in the way spaces interact and interrelate to one another, so when we're doing the planning we're very conscious of spatial hierarchies and the flow through houses and apartments."

According to Dana, before the renovation, the Upper East Side apartment was, "old and grungy.  Everything is brand new. We replaced everything, bathrooms, kitchen, we took walls down, and we totally reorganized the space. We go for a very clean, simple look with very good layout. Layout is important." And that apparently is the key.

"I think the important thing is to open up rooms and connect them with other rooms. For instance, in the living room there was a little den next door and we changed the den into a dining room and enlarged that opening a lot. There was a front hall so we enlarged that opening to the front hall. We try wherever possible to increase the flow between rooms because that allows for better spatial relationships."

"The kitchen is big and open now. It used to be three maid's rooms. We took over one of the maid's rooms and a big pantry and we expanded the kitchen and brought it much more into the apartment. Sometimes pre-war apartment kitchens are stuck in the back, so we moved it forward so that it was connected to the living room, dining room and family room."

Dana adds, "I think we were really able to keep a pre-war apartment feel and yet modernize it to contemporary living." And that is what they did, clearly resulting in clients who are pleased with their newly designed home. "I think they're really, really happy." 
Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) 

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), a Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects, is committed to the promotion of all residential architecture based on architectural content irrespective of style. For more information visit:  

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit: 


Architectural Record Continuing Education Center

Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture 

CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit: 

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 


The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.





Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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