In the last few years of his life, the architect Rafael Viñoly kept a private studio in TriBeCa near his main residence, where he would work on building designs while also indulging his passion for music.
He rented the one-bedroom loft, at 137 West Broadway, from his son Roman Viñoly, a director of his firm. The younger Mr. Viñoly had bought the unit several months after 9/11 and moved out with his wife, Suwattana Viñoly, after their daughter, Fanny, was born in 2018.
The rental arrangement “turned out to be a lovely little refuge for my father,” Mr. Viñoly said, providing him another space a few blocks away from the home shared with his wife, the interior designer Diana Viñoly, on Hudson Street.
“He could draw there, watch soccer matches and play the piano for hours,” he said of his father’s time at the pied-à-terre.
Mr. Viñoly trained as a classical pianist in his native Uruguay before embarking on a successful career in architecture. The New York-based Rafael Viñoly Architects, founded four decades ago, is known around the world for its major commercial, residential and cultural structures, like the new Carrasco Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay, and 20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the “Walkie-Talkie” building, in London.
Viñoly designs can be found throughout New York City, too, most notably at 432 Park Avenue on Billionaires’ Row in Midtown, once the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. (Some of its residents have since complained of engineering and construction issues.)
Mr. Viñoly died in March of an aneurysm at age 78.
Roman Viñoly says he is now ready to sell the co-op, situated between Liberty and Cedar Streets, and has placed it on the market for $2.5 million. The listing brokers are Nicholas Athanail and Spencer H. Cutler of the Corcoran Group; monthly maintenance is $2,182.
Mr. Viñoly says that both he and his father had fond memories of the downtown loft. “It’s a very small community,” he said of the four-unit building with a ground-floor commercial tenant, “and we all look after each other.”
His father, he said, felt equally comfortable. “The neighbors were quite accommodating,” he said. “They appreciated how he played the piano.”
The elder Mr. Viñoly had installed a Steingraeber & Söhne concert grand piano in the apartment (though it has since been removed). It was part of a large collection of pianos he had accumulated over the years.
“Music was his one really contemplative and meditative practice outside his work,” Mr. Viñoly said.
It was also a way to add balance to his extremely busy work schedule. “He was always working on projects,” Mr. Viñoly said, and had redesigned the apartment with an emphasis on studio space.
Encompassing a full floor, the approximately 1,500-square-foot TriBeCa loft sits on the fourth floor of the five-story, Italianate-style building, which was erected in 1867 and declared a landmark in 1993. The sandstone structure, with a cast-iron ground floor exterior, had housed various garment manufacturers and dealers in its early years. In the 1970s, artists started moving in.
The apartment has two entrances — off the elevator or through a door from the stairway. A small foyer with two closets leads to a 12-by-60-foot great room with an open kitchen and areas for dining, lounging and office space.
The kitchen is outfitted with high-end stainless-steel appliances as well as a breakfast bar and countertops made of IceStone, a recycled glass composite. There’s an abundance of wood cabinetry, part of which holds a pantry and a washer/dryer.
The nearby windowed bathroom, with an IceStone vanity and Nemo Viscaya glass tiles, has a separate Duravit soaking tub, an electric Toto toilet, and an expansive glass shower.
The kitchen, bathroom and foyer are covered with Noraplan Uni rubber flooring, while the rest of the apartment is done up in white oak. Recessed lighting can be found throughout the home, in addition to the natural sunlight pouring in from the oversize windows.
“It’s flooded with natural light throughout the afternoon,” Mr. Viñoly said.
In the great room, custom white oak shelves with a connecting desk and dining table line one wall, and on the opposite wall, the elder Mr. Viñoly had installed a mounting system for large-format sketch paper where he would draw. He kept the piano in the middle of the room.
Off the living room area is a spacious bedroom, measuring 13-by-14 feet. It includes a custom bed frame, walk-in closet with shelving, and two smaller closets. Also, a built-in TV is mounted on a specially engineered swivel stand in the bedroom, rotating to also to face the great room.
Although the apartment had been fully renovated by both Roman and Rafael Viñoly, some original architectural details still remain, like the wood columns and ceiling beams and 13-foot-tall ceilings.
“The entire apartment really has a high style and sleek design,” Mr. Athanail said, “but it also has such a warmth to it.”
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