William Sofield Pays Homage to New York’s Prewar Golden Age

On a recent morning, the designer and architect William Sofield arrived at the loft building in downtown Manhattan where he has long kept a studio wearing light jeans, a gray blazer, and a white oxford unbuttoned at the neck. At 58, Sofield is tall and broad-shouldered, with animated blue eyes and a crown of gray hair. One might reasonably mistake him for a retired NFL quarterback. Sofield, who is widely considered one of the most influential interior designers of his generation, cannot remember a time when he did not want to be an architect. In the suburban New Jersey home where he grew up, his older sister recently discovered detailed floor plans that he had drawn as a child: one for a bulbous, futuristic space-age compound and the other for a Tudor Revival home. His most recent residential project, at 111 West 57th Street, is considerably more ambitious. Set dead center along the southern edge of Central Park, the condo comprises the landmarked, 10-story Steinway Building and an adjacent 1,428-foot tower designed by SHoP Architects. Currently nearing completion, the tower will be the thinnest skyscraper in the world.


By Departures

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