The 15 Best Residential Architects in New York City

April 21, 2021 20 Min Read


There is nothing quite like New York City. From museums to amusement parks, cultural centers to green spaces—the Big Apple has it all. And when it comes to the city’s housing scene, the homes found here are a mix of styles both historical and contemporary, traditional and modern. Scattered all over New York are apartments in historic buildings, penthouses that kiss the sky, and downtown lofts and townhouses that provide aesthetic feasts for the eyes. Behind these marvels of architecture and design are some of the best residential architects in New York—designers whose elevated skills in design and architecture push them to continually innovate, in thought and technique, to understand what it takes to be the best in the game. The top architects on this list have been ranked according to company profile, experience, services offered, customer satisfaction, awards received, and media features and coverage. With these firms’ unique designs and services, and their high levels of quality, clients are sure that their discerning tastes and preferences will be satisfied, whichever firm on the list they choose to work with.

Top Architects

1100 Architect

Address: 475 10th Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018

About 1100 Architect

When David Piscuskas and Juergen Riehm came together in 1983 to form 1100 Architect they brought together two beliefs that continue to serve as the driving principles of the firm: that well-designed, functional, and astute architecture can act as a powerful catalyst of inspiration, change, and growth. They believe that architecture is the all-encompassing art form, capable of affecting and portraying all facets of life and nature through an honest, timeless expression. For their extensive contributions to the fields of architecture and design, both David and Juergen have been elevated to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows, a designation awarded to only the top 3% of member architects.

Featured Projects

One of the fundamental tenets of the firm’s practice is site-specificity. The firm designs buildings that are deeply rooted in a sense of place. The process involved is meticulous, with careful evaluation of the site resulting in buildings that are intrinsic to their place, environmentally appropriate, and responsive to existing and historical context. The firm combines this objective with a commitment to sustainable design, in terms of both energy efficiency and concern for the overall wellness of its clients and those who spend time in and around its buildings. One of their homes that displays these qualities is this Long Island house, whose design emerges directly in response to its environmental context on Long Island’s eastern shore. The house comprises two volumes—the main living space and a recreation pavilion—both of which sit on a base that extends into the dunes. While the north façade is punctuated by regular windows, the south façade features floor-to-ceiling windows that open the house to the landscape and maximize ocean views. For its design excellence and environmental sustainability, this home was included in the Shortlist for Heinze Architekten in 2014 and featured in H.O.M.E. Magazine and Design Bureau.

Alexander Butler | Design Services

Address: 16 East 34th St, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10016

About Alexander Butler | Design Services

One of the hallmarks of working with Alexander Butler | Design Services is their open, engaging, and collaborative process. Another is that the firm is unconstrained by style or aesthetic preferences. That freedom allows for the customization of any space a client may desire, while still maintaining a guarantee of high-quality aesthetics. With almost two decades of professional experience in architecture, Alexander Butler heads AB|DS with these principles in mind. Prior to founding his firm, Alexander worked both in New York & London for some of the most elite and respected firms in the world, including Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and GRADE New York. Alexander also credits his architectural perspective to professional, personal, and academic experiences he gained abroad.

Featured Projects

In the last nine years, AB|DS has completed projects throughout New York City, Brooklyn, Westchester County & San Francisco, for a wide range of clients, in a variety of styles, and with budgets large and small. Some project highlights include a contemporary Pied-a-Terre on Park Avenue, a modern condo atop the Millennium Tower in the Upper West Side, and a 3000sf gut renovation of a Soho Loft Space. The firm’s impressive work has been featured in Design Bureau Magazine, Interior Collective Blog, Matter Blog, Brick Underground Online Magazine, House Magazine, and Open Concept Apartments.

Atelier Armbruster, LLC

Address: 50 West 28th Street, Suite 1401, New York, NY 10001

About Atelier Armbruster, LLC

Before founding Atelier Armbruster, LLC, principal Yaiza Armbruster worked for six years as a designer at Selldorf Architects and trained as an architect and engineer in her native city of Munich, Germany. Since starting her own firm, Yaiza has gone on to complete many renovation projects, ranging from partial to full renovations of residential and commercial projects. While all of the firm’s renovations focus on modernizing spaces, it takes care to recognize and incorporate the valuable historical features of the individual projects.

Featured Projects

At Atelier Armbruster, the team understands how to navigate the line between hard-edge modernism and warm, serene spaces. In all of their projects, Yaiza always includes her philosophy, part of which is “Beyond the surface or even my own goals for a project, spaces have to work for the people who live or work in them.” For the quality of its work, the firm has been featured in Curbed, New York Magazine, Das Unger Magazin, Brick Underground, Vogue Living, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor – España, and Wallpaper* Magazine.

CWB Architects

Address: 45 Main Street, Studio 824, Brooklyn, NY 11201

About CWB Architects

Prior to his elevation as a fellow to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2020, firm founder and principal Brendan Coburn established his architectural practice in 1994, working with his father and later on with prestigious firms I.M. Pei and Partners and Rafael Vinoly Architects. When he ventured out on his own in 1997, it was to build his own practice through CWB Architects. Since then he has co-managed the business with fellow principals Ward Welch, AIA and Jason Boutin, AIA, CPHD. The firm’s objectives lie in combining design elegance with functional livability. The firm finds enjoyment in tailoring spaces to a client’s individuality.

Featured Projects

One of the spaces the firm designed was this Greek Revival Boerum Hill Row House, previously owned by a local architect who had renovated the house several times and included an addition of a two-story steel and glass extension at the rear of the house. When the new owners came to CWB Architects, it was with the desire to restore the home’s original form while adjusting it to the needs of a modern family of five. The detailing of the structure was lost, so the firm delved into research on the history of the Greek Revival style in historic Brooklyn neighborhoods. The result of the firm’s intervention was a youthful take on the classical design for this historic Brooklyn brownstone. As a testament to the structure’s beauty and the firm’s excellent work, the project won runner-up in the architecture category for the 2017 NYC&G Innovation in Design Awards and was featured in The American House: 100 Contemporary Homes.

Desai Chia Architecture

Address: 222 Park Avenue South, 6th floor, New York, NY 10003

About Desai Chia Architecture

Desai Chia Architecture is known for two things: its preference for social and humane architecture, and its iconic projects that benefit from the firm’s sustainable technical strategies and extensive knowledge of materials. Its architecture celebrates conceptually bold design, deliberate eloquence, and graceful simplicity in order to better the collective experiences of space and place-making. With the firm’s rootedness in its multidisciplinary background, it seeks to blur the boundaries between building and nature through its hallmark approach of integrating light as a unifying theme into its projects. The results are distinct, evocative, sustainable, and enduring buildings, customized for a range of collaborative experiences that address each client’s particular needs.

Featured Projects

Pictured is a home that the firm completed in 2018. All of the materials in this Montauk house were selected for ease of maintenance, the kind of durability that can stand up to an active family, and the way they contributed to the textural design palette. The design seamlessly integrates several sustainable design strategies. The roof of the house conceals a large photovoltaic array with enough power storage to run the entire home. To reduce the use of air-conditioning, the firm positioned windows and the central stairwell to take advantage of natural ventilation from prevailing winds. Shade from the large cantilevered roof and the “breezeway” terrace also helps to reduce solar heat gain from the sun’s rays on both floors. The house was featured in The New York Times and won the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) National Design Award, among several other awards and recognitions.

DHD Architecture and Interior Design

Address: 200 Park Avenue South Suite 1401, NY 10003

About DHD Architecture and Interior Design

David Howell, principal of DHD, has a 30-year background as an architect and interior designer. A native of New Zealand, he was trained at the University of Auckland, where he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree with honors. What sets DHD Architecture and Interior Design apart is that it has always been a special cross-cultural meeting ground. David finds synergy in pairing distinct design philosophies from two hemispheres, where the towering history of New York and America’s manifold architectural traditions merge with the indoor-outdoor living, modern idioms, and relaxed environmental design of his home country.

Featured Projects

The design foundation of the office is modernistic—an approach both naturalistic and modern that combines elemental and ecological forms with a minimized, sculptural architectural imprint. While the firm begins no project with a preconceived style, it does aim to instill spaces with certain principles. Pictured above is the firm’s work on a Water Mill House—an example of a classic Hamptons wood shingle-style home. The design and renovation maintained the character of the exterior while transforming the interiors. The landscape influenced the design approach of the main floor interiors. The firm removed walls and relocated the kitchen to the front of the house to create an open plan for better flow and views to both the front and rear yards. The firm’s renovation created an open and airy getaway for a busy and active family. For the work done on this home, the project won the 2017 HC&G Innovation in Design Award for Interior Design.

Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects

Address: 115 West 27th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10001

About Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects

Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects is an award-winning design practice with an international reputation for design excellence, material research, and an exacting commitment to the craft. The firm was founded in 1998 and is led by firm principals Stephan Jaklitsch and Mark Gardner, who believe that design possesses the ability to communicate collective values, provide relevance, and create meaning. They accomplish these goals by paying attention to context, materiality, form, and sustainability. As founding principal, Stephan Jaklitsch has taken the practice from a studio focused on residential and commercial projects in the New York region to an award-winning architectural firm with a diverse, international portfolio of work known for design and detailing. The firm and its work have been featured in publications like the Wall Street Journal, Surface Magazine, Gotham Magazine, Frame Magazine, Design Bureau, and Architectural Digest. Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects has also achieved the phenomenal feat of receiving nine American Institute of Architecture Awards. That impressive total includes a National Honor Award.

Featured Projects

A great example of their work is this Riverside Drive Penthouse project, located on Riverside Drive within a 22-story masonry building constructed in 1964. The project, completed in 2015, required a complete interior space renovation to meet the needs and lifestyle of an active family of four. Working in close collaboration with the client’s interior designer, Jenny Fischbach, the completed design opens up the communal living spaces to create a continuous flow between the foyer, the living and dining rooms, and the kitchen and the terrace. The southern-facing windows and doors along the terrace were replaced and expanded, taking advantage of the abundance of light and beautiful views afforded by the Hudson River and Riverside Park. A cool neutral color palette was employed and balanced by the richness of the full height East-Indian Laurelwood panels that connect the living, dining, and kitchen areas.

Lauren Rubin Architecture LLC

Address: 35 West 90th Street, 6, New York, NY 10024

About Lauren Rubin Architecture LLC

Lauren Rubin has been refining her practice as a professional architect for over 20 years. She first made her mark on the architecture and design scene by working for renowned firms such as OPX Architecture, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Mitchell Giurgola Architects. In 2003, she founded her first firm, Redtop Architects, before finally solidifying her place among the best architects in New York with Lauren Rubin Architecture LLC in 2009. With her experience and skills, Lauren sought to impart her knowledge on architecture and to inspire young architects by writing “Look Up,” an activity, history, and art book all in one.

Featured Projects

The firm specializes in modern design and contemporary architecture, which Lauren tempers with a warm design aesthetic to craft the perfect living space. An example of its work that displays these qualities is this Art Deco Home, which was gut-renovated for a family of four. The living area was opened up to create a den, a living room, and an open kitchen. The pre-war details of the original construction were juxtaposed with bold colors and gold accents that make the room even more exciting.

Luca Andrisani Architect

Address: 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10036

About Luca Andrisani Architect

Since starting in 2007, Luca Andrisani Architect has been representing a new generation of architects with an artistic interest in the craft and juxtaposition of timeless, unconventional, and cutting-edge materials. The firm’s conceptually designed environments balance intrigue with sustainable function and beauty. Luca Andrisani, the firm’s principal, has a stellar background, having designed, managed, and detailed over 40 international architecture and interior design projects for the world’s leading retail, commercial, and residential clientele. Prior to making waves in the architecture and design scene, Luca completed his Masters in Architecture at the Royal Institute in Sweden and graduated with Honors from the famed La Sapienza University in Rome.

Featured Projects

When working with residential projects, the firm is drawn toward classic materials, mid-century furniture, texture, and materials used in innovative ways. This Madison Avenue apartment combines all of these qualities to come up with something truly representative of LAA’s work. In this gut renovation of a pre-war apartment, a businessman sought a comfortable pied-a-terre that would evoke a luxury hotel. A palette composed of warm grays and walnut stained oak warmed up lacquered white surfaces and reflected light. Mid-century furniture rounded out the apartment to create a warm, clean refuge.

Michael K Chen Architecture (MKCA)

Address: 1239 Broadway, Suite 703A, New York, NY 10001

About Michael K Chen Architecture (MKCA)

Before founding his own firm in 2011, Michael K. Chen, MKCA’s principal, studied architecture at the University of California at Berkeley (AB), and Columbia University (M. Arch). After graduating, he went on to build his experience by teaching architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University, Columbia University, and the Parsons School of Design. He is currently on the faculty at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture. The firm has been recognized for excelling at complex urban projects. The firm’s approach is deeply informed by curiosity and a love of tinkering, of drawing, of discourse, and of making. The firm’s methods and capabilities are at the leading edge of design, analysis, manufacturing, and construction, but the firm strives to produce exceptional experiences, intricately choreographed spaces, and works that are unexpected, hyper-useful, intelligent, and full of delight.

Featured Projects

Pictured above is an example of MKCA’s work. This project was a reconstruction of a badly degraded, but significant 1879 Neo-Grec townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. As both a family home and a setting for large-scale entertaining and events, the house was organized around multi-directional and multi-level circulation. Opportunities for light, air, and circulation to enliven the interior and exterior on the highly constrained site were developed through generous vertical openings and glazed double-height spaces that emphasize the building’s grand proportions and create visual and spatial connections between floors. For the vision executed on the home, the Residential Architect Awards called the project “a mind-bogglingly beautifully detailed, creative, and clear project.”

NJ Caine Architecture

Address: Upper East Side Office, 146 E 84th St, New York, NY 10028 | Hamptons Office, 62 The Circle, East Hampton, NY 11937

About NJ Caine Architecture

Founding NJ Caine Architecture, principal Neal-James Stufano, AIA designs high-end homes and interiors. Stufano built a team of expert architects and designers that work on projects in New York City, the Hamptons, Greenwich, Connecticut, Wyoming, and West Palm Beach, bringing luxury to life. The firm’s projects have been featured in Architectural Digest, Robb Report, Luxe and Mansion Global.

Featured Project

Inspired by the stunning city views, NJ Caine Architecture transformed two apartments into an impressive home on the 82nd floor of 432 Park Ave. This one-of-a-kind design is reflective of the firm’s approach, carefully considering every detail, incorporating the finest materials and focusing on the aesthetic experience. The result is conceptually unique, innovative and invitingly elegant spaces embodying modern distinction and traditional sophistication.


Address: 10 East 23rd Street, No. 710 New York, NY 10010

About pulltab

With the goal of imbuing a space with sensory and emotive qualities, while at the same time fulfilling its functional needs, pulltab design principals Melissa Baker and Jon Handley built their practice in 2001. The firm specialized in residential design, including apartment renovations, townhomes, penthouse additions, roof gardens, and furniture design. The pair—who like to think of themselves as strident modernists—take their influence from mid-century design, particularly in the work of architects and designers like Carlo Scarpa, Louis Kahn, and Marcel Breuer. Though much of the firm’s style of work is modern, pulltab respects historical precedent while still striving to look and work outside set perspectives.

Featured Projects

The firm creates open light-filled spaces with modern and inventive detailing, including project-specific, custom-engineered, and fabricated pieces. In fact, the firm has been noted for its ingenious and practical solutions, such as concealed storage systems, fold-down tables, built-in and freestanding furniture, display cabinets, and custom hardware. One example of this practice is the Riverside Residence, pictured above. Due to constraints with space, the snug 650-square-foot apartment was transformed into a multifunctional room. Pulltab created dual uses for most of the furniture, including a five-foot-long fold-down dining table which can be stowed away when not in use. The television cabinet is tailored to the owner’s needs as well. Designed by Pulltab and built by the furniture builder Stephen Iino, panels fold to conceal the television while side and lower cabinets store the owners’ home computer, printer, and modem.

raad studio

Address: 5 White Street #4B, New York, NY 10013

About raad studio

With over 100 completed projects in its portfolio and multiple awards to its name, raad studio stands as one of the best residential architects operating in New York today. The firm marries innovative thinking about function with a deep respect for the traditions of everyday living. The firm believes in the limitless potential of design through the exploration of materiality, form, and scale. One of the firm’s most famous commercial projects is the Lowline, which was a plan to use innovative solar technology to illuminate a historic trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of New York City. The firm’s vision for the project: create a stunning underground park, providing a beautiful respite and a cultural attraction in one of the world’s most dense, exciting urban environments.

Featured Projects

A great example of the firm’s residential work is this New York Loft. This unique room inside an iconic New York building was carefully treated to emphasize the muscular beauty of the ancient building skeleton itself. In a project that was almost more about taking away than adding, the interventions were meant to create a clean backdrop for the roughness of the building shell. Building systems, storage, and lighting were all added in a delicate balance to bring out the character of the space.

Ronnette Riley Architect

Address: 5 White Street #4B, New York, NY 10013

About Ronnette Riley Architect

With over 100 completed projects in its portfolio and multiple awards to its name, raad studio stands as one of the best residential architects operating in New York today. The firm marries innovative thinking about function with a deep respect for the traditions of everyday living. The firm believes in the limitless potential of design through the exploration of materiality, form, and scale. One of the firm’s most famous commercial projects is the Lowline, which was a plan to use innovative solar technology to illuminate a historic trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of New York City. The firm’s vision for the project: create a stunning underground park, providing a beautiful respite and a cultural attraction in one of the world’s most dense, exciting urban environments.

Featured Projects

One example of RRA’s exciting work is the renovation of this pre-war Upper West Side apartment. RRA’s goal was to accommodate the client’s lifestyle while maintaining the pre-war characteristics of the space. The result of the bedroom, kitchen, and molding and column capital reconfigurations was a formal yet casual feeling that the client desired while maintaining an elegance worthy of its grand south views of the Natural History Museum.

The Turett Collaborative

Address: 277 Broadway – Studio 1300 – New York, NY 10007

About The Turett Collaborative

The Turett Collaborative, formerly known as Turett Collaborative Architects, is a firm whose scope of work includes architectural design, interiors, graphics, industrial products, and furniture design. TTC’s projects encompass dozens of notable commercial, residential, retail and restaurant projects, spanning from original construction to renovation and additions, to interior modernizations of historic properties. Wayne Turett—the firm’s principal—calls their design studio a “joyful environment” where designers and clients set aside technical and aesthetic preconceptions to create something new, fresh, surprising, and elegant.

Featured Projects

The firm is known for its design solutions that address the needs of owners, businesses, and developers in elegant and frequently surprising ways, and for a design process that engages clients in a collaborative search for design expression, technical resolution, and enduring value. The firm has earned its spot in the pages of publications like Interior Design Magazine, The New York Times, Wallpaper* Magazine, Remodelista, Architectural Record, and the Hamptons Magazine.

Wettling Architects

Address: 270 Lafayette Street, Suite 400, New York, NY 10012

About Wettling Architects

Wettling Architects was founded on the belief that good design responds to its surrounding environment and resonates with the soul of a site in order to enhance the daily lives of its participants. The firm’s goals are to integrate fun into function, to generate opportunities from site constraints, and to produce designs that are consistently bright, clear, and honest. 

Jack Wettling worked with Charles Tapley Associates, Steven Leach & Associates, then became Director of East Coast Operations for Baker Harris, CPC. Then Mr. Wettling started his own firm in 1993 with the objective of directing his focus toward projects of a more intimate scale and scope. He enjoys the personal nature of residential design and is energized by the prospect of cultivating long-lasting relationships with his clients. For its impressive residential work, the firm has been featured in The New York Times, Design Bureau, Elle Decor, Cottage White, Home Colors, 6sqft, Living Etc, and House Beautiful.

Featured Projects

In this Park Avenue Apartment, the customer was a repeat client, and the firm was able to hone and perfect its aim for a space both serene and family-friendly. Two units were combined and a sense of harmonious balance was achieved with great attention to the path of natural light through the space and via the use of innovative air handling systems.

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