Pivot Apartment

Architect: Architecture Workshop PC

Location: New York, New York

AIA awards the Pivot Apartment by Architecture Workshop PC as a recipient of the 2016 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture. The Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture celebrate the most innovative and spectacular interior spaces.


This single 400-square-foot studio apartment has multiple identities. It's a home with a cozy bedroom or a home with no bedroom or a dining parlor capable of hosting ten friends. The changes in personality are accomplished with the movement of a wall of meticulously designed custom cabinetry that can stand flat as part of a seamless main wall or pivot out from there to create a new wall that divides the studio.

Everything is transformable and can create so many different settings that are exquisitely detailed.

Expertly crafted, the pivoting wall contains drawers, cabinets and openings. It can be configured as a partial divider that separates a study from the living room, as a full wall and door that shuts off a bedroom from the living room, or as any of a number of other possibilities. A bed concealed in the rear wall can be pulled down into the space or left hiding, to make the space a dressing room or study.

When the wall is flat, the visible facing is mostly a crisp, serene white. But when it pivots outward, a plywood finish is revealed on the now-exposed surfaces, for a warmer, homier look in the bedroom, dressing room or sitting room that it defines.

With the wall folded flat, out of the way, the studio opens up as one room amply day-lit from the vintage building's big windows. The client, who likes to entertain, can set up a large table for dinners, but when not entertaining a group, folds the table down to a smaller size for its spot next to the galley kitchen. There, it can be raised for food-prep work or lowered for dining. Nearby, the kitchen backsplash opens up to reveal more storage.

It’s about how little space we need, but it is also about our need for more out of a little space.

All around, the architects have created a yacht-like space that blurs the distinction between architecture and furniture.

Additional information

Code Consultant: Resolution Expediting Inc.

General Contractor: Alb-Bros Construction Corp.


2016 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury

Rand Elliott, FAIA (Chair), Elliott + Associates Architects, Oklahoma City

Ruth Baleiko, AIA, The Miller Hull Partnership LLP, Seattle

Barbara Bestor, AIA, Bestor Architecture, Los Angeles

James Slade, AIA, Slade Architecture, New York City

Lisa Smeltzer, State of Louisiana Facility Planning & Control, Baton Rouge

Image credits

PivotApartment 1

Robert Garneau, AIA

PivotApartment 2

Robert Garneau, AIA

PivotApartment 3

Robert Garneau, AIA

PivotApartment 4

Robert Garneau, AIA

PivotApartment 5

Robert Garneau, AIA