It might be hard to conceive of a green haven in the midst of the city, but that’s exactly what design firm DXA studio has done at the Maverick in Chelsea. By incorporating biophilic design throughout the 300,000-square-foot, two-building residential complex, the Maverick blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living.
“Making that connection to nature, whether a direct or indirect connection is a theme throughout the entire project,” said Wayne Norbeck, a co-founder and partner of DXA. “The goal is always to create an oasis for people in their living environments.”
Biophilic design connects a building’s occupants to the natural environment by incorporating nature into the built and outside spaces. The Maverick, developed by HAP Investments and built by HAP Construction at 215 West 28th St., provided a great opportunity.
Amenities are in a subcellar. DXA prioritized large operable windows for airflow and Juliet balconies that allow massive natural light, 2,000 square feet of rooftop space and landscaping elements, natural materials and health-related amenities like extra bike spots and a smart gym to enhance mindful living for the residents.
Inspired by the nearby Flower District, DXA incorporated landscaping and greenery throughout. Residents enter the building through an angled bronze entrance marquee that hosts a cascade of verdant plantings and lush landscaping that surrounds the floor-to-ceiling windows inside the lobby. Even the gym and other below-ground amenities boast greenery, kept alive by ultraviolet lighting.
The second level boasts outdoor terraces, and the 19th and 20th floors have loggias that allow people to hang out outside in a protected way.
“It can be nerve-wracking at that height to have an exposed balcony that just projects,” Norbeck said. “It’s intimidating and gets a lot of wind. This façade gives privacy at that height.”
On the rooftop, a public space offers beach-themed amenities including an outdoor kitchen and lounge area.
“The outdoor space is very much an important aspect,” Norbeck continued. “You get away from the bustle of street life — it’s a serene experience.”
Indirect biophilic connections include introducing a natural color palette. Norbeck compared the lobby to a wooden bento box, surrounded by natural wood. A backlit illuminated ceiling gives the impression of a translucent skylight. The resident lounges are adorned with natural materials as well. They lead into a pool that feels like it was “carved out of the earth,” surrounded by textured stone that is indirectly lit, he said.
“It feels like a refuge, like you’re going back to the natural world,” he said. Biophilic elements are becoming more prominent in subsequent projects. “Priorities have changed,” Norbeck said. “People want larger units, with design as good as possible as you spend time at home. Access to outdoor space and ventilation was already based into the design but now works very well in terms of the COVID-19 world.”