the lobby features a black leather couch and bold artwork
Photography by Matthew Williams.

7 Character-Filled Apartment Buildings That Wow

From East Coast to West, Florida to New York, luxury and affordable apartment buildings evict a cookie-cutter approach for character, eco-consciousness, and copious perks.

Walk Through Striking Apartment Buildings Brimming With Style

Asher, Tampa, Florida, Designed by Morris Adjmi Architects

Standout: Massive yet LEED Gold certified, the 22 stories offer 490 rental and furnished extended-stay units in a factory-style tower that nods to the region’s industrial past. Conceived with price-conscious tenants in mind—homes start at 380 square feet—details are anything but budget: American oak, terrazzo, brass, and Venetian plaster mix with artwork by Windy Chien, William LaChance, and Thomas Trum and an amenity deck featuring a 74-foot pool.

The Astor, New York, Designed by Pembrooke & Ives and Ash Staging

Standout: The Upper West Side property by Clinton and Russell dates to 1901—as do such interior finishes as the entry’s heavily veined marble. To bring the rental-owner hybrid into the 21st century, developer CIM hired Pembrooke & Ives to redesign 25 res­idences as luxe condominiums ranging from studios to five-bedrooms, all with contemporary kitchens, oversize main bathrooms, and marble fireplace mantels, as well as two model units, where, along with the lobby, furniture and artwork have been
curated by Ash Staging

Launch, Alameda, California, Designed by Vida Design

Standout: The northern city is actually an island that once hosted a naval air station, so the 13,000 square feet of amenity and public spaces—even the noir mail room—in the rental mid-rise boast the streamlined, symmetrical influences of maritime architecture, centered on a palette that evokes the color of the sea by day and night (aka Benjamin Moore & Co.’s Polo Blue and Space Black). Furnishings—the lobby’s custom nautical-hued sofas, the club­room’s leather Blu Dot loveseats—are fittingly aerodynamic and shipshape.

The Suffolk, New York, Designed by JG Neukomm Architecture

Standout: Just as the Lower East Side is home to myriad cultures, the common areas and unit finishes of this 30-story building are a palimpsest of materials and moods. The area’s historic Guastavino vaults inspired the artisanal-plastered, terrazzo-floored lobby with custom 9-foot pendants, the amenity lounge skews continental with Calacatta Viola risers and Patricia Urquiola seating, while the coworking carrels are pure punk with black-and-white photography and Area Environments wallcovering titled Collected Turbulence.

South E8, Raleigh, North Carolina, Designed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects

Standout: To accommodate the southern city’s explosive growth yet maintain its low-rise scale, the three-story building adds eight rental residences to a lot that previously had one, and does it with drama and environmental awareness: The angular facade shifts from white-painted brick to black standing-seam steel paneling, while interiors boast such passive design strategies as cross ventilation, energy- and water- efficient fixtures, ample daylighting, and outdoor access.

Wellsmith Apartments, Richmond, Virginia, Designed by Hickok Cole

Standout: With the goal of enriching tenants’ days, replenishing their energy, and improving well-being, the 349-unit new-build rental property features a graphic white-brick and black-aluminum exterior complemented inside by local painter Naomi McCavitt’s 11-by-20-foot botanical mural, plus additional stress-relieving art; such elevated finishes as quartz, chrome, porcelain tile, and polished concrete; and airy communal spaces that open onto pools, courtyards, and greenery for a front-porch experience with urban benefits.

Allan & Geraldine Rosenberg Residences, Freeport, Long Island, Designed by Studio Libeskind

Standout: The firm’s first affordable-housing project also happens to be for seniors, so all 45 units’ ceramic-tiled bathrooms are accessible. Common areas are too, and they’re dynamic as well: Precast-concrete pavers form a rooftop walking track and an internal courtyard, from which doorways painted bright colors that help orient residents to their floor are visible. It’s all contained in a StoTherm ci Mineral facade punched with geometric apertures.

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