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The Best Residential Architects and Designers in New York City

March 10, 2020 24 Min Read

Building in New York City is a multi-billion dollar business. In a city where even a rental can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, architects have a huge responsibility to bring value and style to every house they design. Whether a project involves designing a penthouse in the clouds, reviving a historic brownstone, or outfitting a downtown loft, residential architects must deliver forward-thinking plans and elevated designs.

The following list features the top 15 residential architects in NYC. Our team compiled a list of accomplished architects and evaluated them based on their mastery of the trade and the quality of their work. We also assessed the architects based on their years of experience, their industry accreditations and certifications, and the strength of their portfolios. The resulting list features architects whose forward-thinking practices have put them at the forefront of residential architecture.

This list includes both licensed architects and residential designers who can both design stunning houses but differ in other services offered. Architects are trained in design, engineering, and project management and have passed a licensing exam. Residential designers typically don’t manage projects and plans will need to be approved by a structural engineer. Whether you choose to hire an architect or a residential designer will depend on your project needs and complexity.

1100 Architect

475 10th Ave., 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018

Founded in 1983 by David Piscuskas, FAIA, LEED AP, and Juergen Riehm, FAIA, BDA, 1100 Architect has since been delivering award-winning projects for clients across the world. The studio provides primarily architecture, interior design, urban design, and master planning services, along with consultation concerning environmental review, historic landmark assessment, and sustainability planning. The 70-person office works on projects of varied scales and across many markets, touting a portfolio that comprises educational institutions, local and federal governments, cultural organizations, commercial workplaces, and residential spaces.

1100 Architect is known for its meticulous attention to detail, applying the same rigor to every project it undertakes. The team believes that materiality is central to the experience of a space, which is why the team carefully considers the characteristics of each material it uses to create enduring architecture. For instance, the design for the featured West Village residence involved the comprehensive renovation of an upper-level duplex and the addition of a custom limestone staircase leading to a rooftop expansion. The triplex offers a range of open and private spaces, with the layout allowing the client to exhibit their artwork collection. Additionally, the triplex features a full-length retractable wall on the mezzanine level, transforming the living room into an indoor-outdoor environment connected to a terrace that offers sweeping views of the Hudson River.

Alexander Butler | Design Services LLC

16 E 34th St., 18th Floor, New York, NY 10016

Alexander Butler | Design Services is a full-service design firm dedicated to creating living spaces with bespoke designs tailored to diverse clients and contexts. Over the past decade, the firm has achieved success through an open, engaging, and collaborative process, with no limitations concerning style or aesthetic preferences.

The eponymous owner of the firm touts architectural degrees from the University of Virginia and Yale University. During his professional career prior to founding AB|DS, Butler worked for some of the most respected architecture firms in New York and London, including Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and GRADE New York. These academic, professional, and personal experiences have added meaningful layers to Butler’s architectural perspective, allowing him and his team to deliver comprehensive and innovative designs.

AB|DS has completed projects throughout New York City, Brooklyn, Westchester County, and San Francisco. Among its most remarkable designs are a contemporary pied-à-terre on Park Avenue; a modern condo atop the Millennium Tower in the Upper West Side; and a 3,000-square-foot gut renovation of a Soho Loft Space.

Located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the 700-square-foot pied-à-terre went from a good apartment to an amazing one. AB|DS designed a gut renovation of the one-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath dwelling unit, uniting clean, contemporary design and classic furnishings and details to create the perfect home away from home.

Anjie Cho Architect PLLC

457 FDR Dr., New York, NY 10002

Highly sought-after in the fields of feng shui and interior architecture, Anjie Cho is continuously making waves in the design industry. In addition to being the owner of Anjie Cho Architect, she is co-founder of the Mindful Design Feng Shui School and founder of Holistic Spaces, which has its own blog, podcast, and online store. Cho graduated with an Architecture Degree from the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley and is now a registered architect in NY, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED-AP), and a certified feng shui consultant from the BTB Feng Shui Masters Training Program. Since 1999, she has been designing sublime spaces that reflect the perfect marriage between balance and harmony. Cho’s primary goal is to create nurturing and supportive environments tailored to unique needs and specifications.

One of the firm’s most impressive works is a design project inspired by feng shui and healthy living. Anjie Cho incorporated many non-toxic and organic materials to create a home with peaceful energy. Among these elements are buckwheat purple lavender zafu pillows (meditation cushions), a Noguchi chair, a custom bamboo sideboard and cabinets, a feng shui fountain, and natural food-based milk paint.

Archetype Architecture

224 W 79th St., New York, NY 10024

Archetype Architecture is a full-service architecture and interior design firm based in the Upper West Side. The firm’s eponymous owner and staff of architectural and interior designers offer creative, custom, and timeless solutions to diverse architectural endeavors. Since 2001, the practice has worked on its clients’ behalf, collaborating with Landmarks, the Department of Buildings, and numerous consultants to successfully complete each project.

Berman attended the Cornell University School of Architecture, where he graduated with honors. He has worn many hats throughout his career, including serving as Head of Architecture at Bed Bath & Beyond Corporate. While there, he spearheaded the development of Bed Bath & Beyond prototype standards and streamlined the management, contract control, design documentation, scheduling, and construction of more than 300 Bed Bath & Beyond stores throughout the U.S. He also worked as a project manager at Nadel Architects in Los Angeles and led many teams through the design and construction of retail centers, stores, malls, and supermarkets. Today, he is licensed to practice architecture in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The studio operates on the tenet of collaboration, ensuring constant coordination and communication among its staff members, who all hold professional architecture or interior design degrees and tout extensive experience in residential renovations, townhouse designs, and interiors. Archetype Architecture’s roster of services includes predesign, schematic design, design development, approvals and coordination, construction documents, bidding, construction administration, interior design, and interior decorating.

Axis Mundi

315 W 39th St. Suite #805, New York, NY 10018

A leading contemporary architecture, and design and interdisciplinary firm, Axis Mundi specializes in personalized, high-end residential, commercial, and cultural projects. The firm has completed projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.

Axis Mundi was launched in 2004 by John Beckmann, who received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Environmental Design from Parsons School of Design. While there, he apprenticed with master minimalist Joseph P. D’Urso—an experience that allowed Beckmann to collaborate with other design luminaries later on. In 1998, Beckmann received a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Twelve years later, he received a McDowell Colony Fellowship. He edited and contributed to The Virtual Dimension: Architecture, Representation and Crash Culture, which was one of the first books to grasp the implications of digital technologies in the fields of architecture and design. Beckmann has also been a visiting critic at the Yale School of Architecture, Pratt Institute, and Parsons School of Design. Throughout his career, he developed an astute understanding of the intersections between architecture, design, and contemporary art.

Axis Mundi’s projects simultaneously stimulate the intellect and the senses. The featured Park Avenue apartment embodies his trademark—the residence touts glamorous low-slung aesthetics, an impressive art collection, and some of the most breathtaking views of Manhattan. Perhaps the most striking room in the apartment is the sensuous red library. The space features custom-designed bookshelves in burnished brass and walnut; a Wing Sofa in red velvet from Flexform floats; and JJ Chairs in Mongolian lamb fur from B&B Italia.

Desai Chia Architecture

115 W 27th St. Suite #901, New York, NY 10001

Established in 1996, Desai Chia Architecture provides bold and deliberate design solutions for institutions, organizations, and private clients throughout the U.S. and even abroad in Toronto, Bangalore, and the U.K. Co-founded by Katherine Chia FAIA and Arjun Desai FAIA in 1996, the firm has since earned four American Architecture Awards from The Chicago Athenaeum, five Interior Design Best of Year honors, and seventeen design awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Both principals of the lauded, international firm earned a Master of Architecture from M.I.T. before collaborating on residential, commercial, and cultural projects that would capture the attention of Architect, Dwell, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Beyond press coverage, Desai Chia designs have been exhibited at Parsons School of Design, Herman Miller showrooms in New York and Los Angeles, and the Center for Architecture in Greenwich Village.

The featured home was designed by Desai Chia in collaboration with Environment Architects (AOR) of Traverse City, MI. Perched on a woodland bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, the residence is an assemblage of three offset structures, which includes a “gathering” space (containing the living room, kitchen, and a covered vista terrace); two “sleeping” structures that house the master bedroom suite and three children’s bedrooms; and a dining area “breezeway” that connects all three structures.

The roofscape follows the movement of the natural terrain and references the vernacular architecture of nearby fishing villages. The undulations also capture stormwater and divert it away from the erosion-prone bluff to promote ecological site stewardship. The resulting rhythm of exposed wood beams provides layers of asymmetrical vaults throughout the interiors. Meanwhile, a 20-foot cantilevered roof extends over the vista terrace.

This project earned significant recognition, winning several design and architecture awards from the AIA, the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA), The International Architecture Awards, Interior Design Magazine, and Dezeen.

Kimberley Peck Architect

266 New York Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216

Kimberly Peck Architect is a boutique architecture firm that touts remarkable expertise in residential and hospitality projects. The firm has completed projects ranging from new constructions and historic brownstone renovations to large loft build-outs. Past clients and industry professionals alike laud the team for strongly emphasizing the details of design and construction in its architectural and interior design projects.

The firm’s eponymous founder has a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and a Masters of Architecture. Peck is a licensed architect and has been practicing in New York City since 1997. She began her career working for internationally acclaimed restaurant designer Adam Tihany and the award-winning Ogawa Depardon Architects. Over the years, she gained extensive experience through her involvement in a variety of hospitality, retail, and residential projects. In 2004, she established Kimberly Peck Architect to focus on high-end residential and hospitality projects for clients such as The W Hotel, Jonathan Adler, Ted Gibson, Loreal, Maimonides Medical Center, and Club Monaco. Peck’s work has been featured on HGTV, as well as in The New York TimesDwellRemodelistaNew York Magazine, and many other publications.

The practice regularly experiments with new materials and uses them in unexpected ways, investing in energy-efficient and environmentally conscious building means and methods. For instance, in one renovation project, the team created a set of stairs with a minimal footprint to maximize the usable space in a small apartment. The original steep ladder leading to the second-floor sleeping loft was replaced with a staircase integrated with the kitchen cabinetry and dining area. The fourth tread of the stair continues to create a counter above additional kitchen storage and then cantilevers and wraps around the kitchen’s stone counters to create a dining area.

Lauren Rubin Architecture (LRA)

35 W 90th St. Suite #6D, New York, NY 10024

Specializing in clean modernism, Lauren Rubin Architecture (LRA) unites contemporary architecture with a warm design aesthetic to develop beautiful living spaces. The architecture and interior design firm’s expertise lies in residential projects, but LRA also works with many commercial and educational clients.

Lauren Rubin has been practicing architecture for over two decades, touting extensive experience in residential, commercial, and institutional architecture. Her work can be found throughout New York City, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New Jersey, Westchester, and Long Island.

Rubin graduated with a Masters of Architecture from the Catholic University of America and began her professional career with the Washington D.C. firm OPX Architecture, formerly Oldham and Partners. While there, she designed and documented several architectural projects, including new offices for ABC Nightline News. Later on, she worked for numerous renowned architecture firms, including Kohn Pedersen Fox. In 2009, Rubin formed her own company, which has provided her with the opportunity to explore the balance between and integration of her personal and professional lives, as she carefully curates and designs each project with a personal touch.

One of the firm’s projects is the vibrant gut renovation of a Park Slope townhouse. LRA opened the space to allow natural light to flow from the front windows to the back garden. The team also created an open kitchen and dining area and a family room, both of which open up to the garden. Additionally, a ground floor bathroom and hidden laundry/storage room were added. Having owned the house for many years, the clients wanted to preserve some of the original details of the building—particularly, the wooden staircase was refurbished instead of replaced.

Michael K. Chen Architecture

1239 Broadway Suite #703A, New York, NY 10001

From its office on Broadway, Michael K. Chen Architecture designs residences, products, and furniture that draw international attention. Aside from featuring in 40 European publications, the firm’s work has appeared in Interior DesignThe New York Times, and Dwell. Founder Michael Chen, AIA, established the firm in 2011 after studying architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. Heavily involved in architecture education, Chen has lectured at Parsons School of Design, the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Cornell University, and other revered institutions. The recipient of the Graham Foundation research grant now leads a team of accomplished designers and project managers.

The multidisciplinary architecture and design firm touts experience in designing and building diverse projects, ranging from individual micro apartments to entire buildings. MKCA provides innovative and superbly crafted work for clients, bringing an ultra-refined sensibility and attention to detail to every endeavor. The firm’s methods and capabilities are at the forefront of design, analysis, manufacturing, and construction, yet the team still strives to exceed expectations through creating intricately choreographed spaces. As a result, MKCA’s portfolio comprises unexpected, hyper-useful, and delightful designs.

Among the firm’s most impressive works is this reconstructed landmarked Upper East Side townhouse. The badly degraded 1879 Neo-Grec townhouse was reinvented through meticulous attention to detail and a collaborative approach. Used as a family home and a setting for large-scale events and entertaining, the home was organized around a multi-directional and multi-level circulation. Chen reconceived every inch of the six-story home, including the home’s vertical garden off the backyard terrace. With the help of the Local Office Landscape Architecture and Boston Valley Terra Cotta, they developed a kit of slip-cast glazed terra-cotta planters. Chen also obtained permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with help from conservation botanists at the Syracuse branch of the State University of New York and filled the containers with endangered ferns from Hudson Valley cliff faces.

Peter Pennoyer Architects

136 Madison Ave, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10016

Peter Pennoyer Architects is a 50-person firm of architects, interior designers, and related professionals based in Manhattan and with an office in Miami, Florida. Founded in 1990 by Peter Pennoyer, the firm is recognized as a leader in new construction, renovation, and historic preservation for residential, commercial, and institutional commissions across the United States and abroad.

Peter Pennoyer Architects’ work is characterized by sophisticated detail, high-quality craftsmanship and a nimble balance between comfort, beauty, modernity, and continuity with the past. For each commission, they look at the site and its architectural heritage to understand the landscape to which they are contributing, while at the same time designing for today’s living. The firm enjoys longstanding relationships with many interior designers, landscape architects, artisans, builders, and consultants, as well as with returning clients, and their own interior design department also offers a full range of decorating services and often works in concert with their architectural team to tailor finishes and furnishings from city apartments and country houses to residential developments.

The firm has over 200 built projects ranging from renovations of significant landmarked structures to newly built condominium towers, and in New York City, has been the architect of over 40 projects requiring approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. They are dedicated to being at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies and computer design tools and their 3D imaging/virtual reality and 3D printing offers our clients the opportunity to see imagined forms through tangible prototypes during the design development phase of a project.


10 E 23rd St. Suite #710, New York, NY 10010

Working on apartment renovations, townhomes, penthouse additions, roof gardens, and furniture design for almost two decades has allowed pulltab to hone its expertise in residential design. Founded in 2001, the architectural firm creates ingenious designs that have earned it numerous recognitions from publications such as Dwell, Metropolis, New York Magazine, The New York Times, and Remodelista. The team’s work is primarily inspired by midcentury modern designs created by renowned designers and architects, including Carlo Scarpa, Louis Kahn, and Marcel Breuer.

In addition to creating warm environments, pulltab is known for developing designs that fulfill the functional needs of a space and imbue sensory and emotive qualities. The studio creates open, light-filled spaces with modern and inventive detailing, particularly project-specific, custom-engineered, and fabricated pieces. In fact, pulltab is regularly lauded for its ingenious and practical solutions, such as concealed storage systems, fold-down tables, built-in and freestanding furniture, display cabinets, and custom hardware. For instance, this High Line residence has a wall system that folds flat and then pulls out to divide the room.

Ronnette Riley Architects

494 8th Ave., 15th Floor, New York, NY 10001

Ronnette Riley Architect is a 100% woman-owned business enterprise that’s recognized for creating valuable spaces characterized by the fusion of innovative and traditional materials and methods. The practice has consistently excelled in various architecture projects, from retail spaces to corporate environments, private residences to large institutional facilities, and master plans to space programming. In addition to its timely service and remarkable project management, Ronnette Riley Architect has developed a reputation for comfortable design and technical competence. This commitment has led to many repeat clients and a steady growth in educational, institutional, government, retail, commercial, and residential projects.

The quality of the firm’s work is reflected in the vitality of its portfolio as well as its vast collection of design awards. An example of the studio’s impressive projects is the home featured here. Originally an industrial building with 14-foot high ceilings, this 1,700-square-foot loft now accommodates an extensive collection of books and wine thanks to a book mezzanine and a wine cellar created by Ronnette Riley Architect. The residence also touts an elliptical cove embellished with multi-colored LED lights, giving the warm, inviting home a dramatic flair.

Selldorf Architects

860 Broadway at Union Square, New York, NY 10003

Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA, grew up in Germany before coming to Brooklyn to study architecture at Pratt Institute. She then ventured to Italy to earn a Master of Architecture degree before establishing Selldorf Architects in NYC. In 2016, the AIA New York chapter recognized Selldorf with a Medal of Honor, and the firm released Selldorf Architects: Portfolio and Projects, which is a monograph that chronicles the firm’s work when Selldorf founded her eponymous firm in 1988. The team of 70 designers—led by Selldorf and partners Sara Lopergolo, AIA; Julie Hausch-Fen; Lisa Green; and Bill Bigelow—offers architectural, interior, and exhibition services, along with master and strategic planning. Though single-family homes and multi-unit buildings continue to be the backbone of the studio’s portfolio, Selldorf Architects has designed structures for New York’s Neue Galerie, among other cultural institutions throughout the U.S.

Located in a Landmark District on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this 1887 townhouse was completely reinvented by Selldorf Architects. Retaining only the home’s historic facade, the firm maximized the interior space by lowering the garden level, which also created a seamless transition from the indoors to the outdoors. The rear roof was also raised, resulting in gracious ceiling heights at the upper levels. To allow more light to permeate the building, the team created an oval skylight that brings in natural light throughout the five levels of the home, as do the full-height glass windows on each floor. Meanwhile, the interior detailing and finishes pay tribute to the townhouse typology while incorporating modernity into the home.

Studio ST Architects

330 W 38th St. Suite #309, New York, NY 10018

Studio ST Architects’ gut renovation turned this 6,700-square-foot Manhattan apartment into a sophisticated, yet welcoming and cozy space that boasts a modern look and contemporary furnishings warmed up with touches of wood, colorful rugs, and artwork.

The space combines the high ceilings and open plan of a loft on one side and the comfort and privacy of an apartment on the other.

Designed for hosting functions and fundraisers, the generous foyer, dining room, living room, and family room convey a soft opulence and allow the owners to host large groups. With its wood cabinetry, the nearby kitchen area adds comfort and warmth and features an oversized island.

A large playroom for the family’s three young sons, four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a pantry, and a mudroom complete this elegant and functional home.

Woman-owned, full-service architecture firm Studio ST Architects is dedicated to exploring the embedded logics of materials and structures to generate new spatial experiences.

The firm employs a personal yet collaborative design approach, providing innovative and responsible designs of structures ranging from synagogues and community centers to high-end apartments and low budget real-estate developments.

Embracing collaboration with the field of psychoanalysis, Studio ST Architects strives to develop designs that capture the unique aspirations and needs of clients and users to improve the places where they live, learn, and worship.

Prior to establishing her own firm, Esther Sperber, AIA worked for five years at Pei Partnership Architects, working closely with Mr. I M Pei. Since the establishment of Studio ST Architects in 2004, Sperber quickly built a reputation for the firm as a practice with a commitment to creating meaningful spaces and expanding the palette of forms and construction methods. In 2008, the firm was included in Wallpaper Magazine’s list of World’s 50 Hottest Young Architectural Firms. Sperber frequently gives lectures and writes extensively on architecture and psychoanalysis.

The Turett Collaborative Architects

277 Broadway Suite #1300, New York, NY 10007

Formerly Turett Collaborative Architects, The Turett Collaborative is a multidisciplinary architecture and interior design practice known for its innovative design solutions. The firm aims to address the real needs of clients in elegant and frequently surprising ways and implements a design process that prioritizes collaboration and client engagement. Firm owner Wayne Turett plays an active role in all of The Turett Collaborative’s design assignments and supervises the firm’s general operations.

Turett has degrees in Architecture from the University of Illinois and Pratt Institute, and he studied for a year at UP-3 in Versailles, France. He is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and is licensed to practice architecture in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. He has also served as a design critic and performed lectures at a number of universities.

The Turett Collaborative’s work encompasses architectural design, interiors, graphics, industrial products, and furniture design across commercial, residential, retail, and restaurant sectors. The firm worked on this Upper West Side townhouse, giving it a free-flowing layout, large expanses of wall space, and the flexibility to reprogram spaces at will to accommodate the homeowners’ style of living, entertaining, and art collecting. The historic residence was originally built in the 1890s and is in one of the city’s Landmark Districts, so the Turett team was careful to restore and protect every detail of the bayfront brownstone facade.


  • Shahe Demirdjian

    Shahe is an Editor at New York City Architects with around four years of experience as a writer and editor in the construction space. Shahe has always had a huge interest in commercial/residential construction and real estate. On top of his experience at New York City Architects, he has two years of experience as a Construction Partner Specialist at BuildZoom and six years of experience as a licensed real estate agent. In his work, he takes advantage of his expertise to take complex technical jargon from those realms and transform them into accessible, engaging content, blending his business administration expertise with a degree from Arizona State University with his experiential insights. Expertise: Architecture, Home Design and Build, Home Remodeling Key Highlights: Arizona Real Estate - Licensed Salesperson Education: Arizona State University - Bachelors in Business Administration

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