A Winning Combination : Cetra-Ruddy

Husband-and-wife architect team Cetra-Ruddy is making its mark on Manhattan one project at a time

By Alison Gregor


 Cetra/Ruddy cut its teeth in the hoity-toity New York City residential market in the 1990s, when it began working with luxury homeowners to renovate or combine oversized apartments on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Upper West Side.

Gehry. Gwathmey. Calatrava. Marino. Meier. Celebrity architects may dazzle those seeking luxury homes in New York City, but there are plenty of highly skilled architects working outside the spotlight to produce superbly designed living quarters that grab headlines with their intrinsic aesthetic qualities. Still, at least one firm seems poised to climb onto that star architect marquee.

Cetra/Ruddy Inc., a husband-and-wife architectural team in business for more than 18 years, is a name that keeps popping up in connection with New York City’s most opulent spaces. The firm, with 65 employees led by founding partners John Cetra and Nancy Ruddy, is leaving its Midas touch all over town.

Perhaps one of the most anticipated luxury developments in New York City is the Stanhope Residences, a former hotel on Fifth Avenue converted into classic condominiums, some full-floor. A striking feature of those interiors, designed by British architect-to-the-Queen John Simpson along with Cetra/Ruddy, are commodious dens alongside dining rooms and classic pre-war kitchens.

In a tip of the hat to the unconventional, the Orion, a glass tower designed by Cetra/Ruddy in Midtown Manhattan that broke records with the velocity of its sales, has its array of amenities on three floors hovering mid-building. Considered to be in a prime location due to spectacular views, it would typically be reserved for private owners; instead, it has been converted to a palatial space for all residents.

Another streamlined tower, Ariel East, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, is a glass ziggurat with a twist: Cetra/Ruddy added statuesque terra cotta strips to the façade to echo the glazed terra cotta of an adjacent landmark theatre. The architecture firm also did the plush interiors, as well as the interiors of sister tower Ariel West.

And at 1600 Broadway, a stalk of glass planted in the middle of irrepressible Times Square, Cetra/Ruddy, among other architects, worked to design interiors that allow guests the best of both worlds: a front-row view of the city’s neon-soaked commercial center without the 24-hour-a-day imposition.

Haute Living visited three other developments done by Cetra/Ruddy to explore this firm’s unique take on residential real estate design.