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Penthouse at the St. James


The top floor of a prominent Philadelphia high-rise overlooking Washington Square Park provided a modern shell for a contemporary renovation. Originally configured as three penthouse units on the 45th floor, the interior and 2,500 sf of terrace space were combined into a single residence with sweeping city views. The renovation created a city home and gallery for collecting and displaying contemporary glass crafts.

CBP Architects designed a distinctive residence framed around the gallery experience and urban entertaining, while incorporating softer residential moments for private family life. The need for elaborate food preparation spurred design of a show kitchen for the owners’ renowned chef to cook on display, viewable from several entertaining spaces. Secondary preparation and cleaning facilities are discreetly tucked away. Living areas open and flow into each other, with pockets of secondary functions and partially hidden linkages between spaces. The design creates intimacy within the open plan. At large social events, guests may access all areas of the penthouse, including the primary bedroom suite. A main gallery was created in order to house unique, traveling art shows. The artwork is not merely displayed, but integrated into the residence, with the careful sequencing of experience meant to invite discovery. The marriage of art and architecture affords encounters that shift with the time of day, path taken, and quality of lighting.

  • Project Category

    Private Residence

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA

  • Number of Stories


  • Gross Floor Area

    8,700 sf

  • Program

    Single-Family Residence for Large-Scale Entertaining & Glass Art Collection