SoHo has not always been a good residential area in New York. It was only in the 1960s, as modern artists took refuge there, that it acquired its present charm as a popular, creative neighbourhood with narrow cobbled streets, numerous boutiques, furniture stores, galleries and restaurants. It has now established itself as a centre for art and culture, and at 565 Broome Street, on the corner of West Broadway, the first residential building from a renowned Pritzker Architecture Prize winner can be found. With their rounded floor-to-ceiling windows, the building's luxury apartments offer magnificent panoramic views of the city and the Hudson River.
It was a challenge to achieve an optically and technically perfect connection between the highquality parquet flooring and the large window fronts, with their rounded corners. Elegant flooring profiles had to be developed that could be attached without using either glue or screws and, at the same time, allow sufficient room for the wood flooring to expand and contract. Within six months, Küberit - the globally recognised specialist for aluminium profiles - had developed expansion joint profiles, profiles for the interior and exterior corners, and profile connectors that were specifically designed to meet these unusual structural circumstances. A total of 870 straight aluminium profiles and 300 aluminium profiles, constructed to fit the round corner windows, were installed, and more than 1,100 parts were milled so as to elegantly clad the mitre cuts and joints.
With its distinctive glass facade, the 30-storey building towers above the smaller industrial structures that are so typical of SoHo. They were built in the 19th century, when SoHo became the city's textile district. The luxury apartment building's architecture and materials not only augment the historical context, but are also visually and technically sophisticated. Below the 20mm parquet flooring, 10mm of sound insulation ensures a peaceful, quiet living atmosphere.
At a meeting at the construction site, the site engineer explained the requirements of the architect team. The task was to develop floor profiles with an expansion joint that could be set on the flooring while reliably doing their job. In this respect, the approximately 300 rounded corner windows posed a particular challenge. Moreover, a visually attractive solution needed to be found for the transitions between adjacent profiles.
In accordance with the architect team's requirements, Olaf Holtschmidt, head of development at Küberit, created design drawings for the construction of mock-ups. For this purpose, the development team modified the Küberit angled profile 237, matching it to the precise radius of the rounded windows. For the expansion joints, Küberit chose neoprene to satisfy the building's technical requirements. The neoprene joints were attached to the window frame in such a way that they would press against it when the parquet flooring expanded, and would fit securely without being screwed or glued on.
Then, a visually attractive solution had to be found for the transitions and mitre cuts on the profiles. For this purpose, Küberit milled special aluminium interior and exterior corners, as well as connectors that corresponded to the optics and engineering of the angled profiles. The Küberit team built a small device to enable the neoprene expansion joints to be quickly and cleanly attached to the straight and rounded profiles, but they had to be fitted by hand on the corner and connecting parts. The careful planning paid off: all profiles in this custom production fit precisely.