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“This project was…a great collaboration”

At this year’s International Property Awards, held in February at the Savoy Hotel in London, Professor of Residential Project Management John Rusk’s firm, Rusk Renovations, was recognized for their work on a stunning penthouse called Sky Lit View, part of the Manhattan Sun project. The penthouse won Best Residential Interior—Private Residence for New York, the United States, and the Americas. In addition, the Manhattan Sun finished in the top four for the Best in the World category.

Professor Rusk teaches in the Columbia University School of Professional Studies Construction Administration program and has had a long career as an industry-leading educator, designer, and engineer. In addition to teaching and his work at his company, Rusk is an arbitrator and mediator for the American Arbitration Association. He is one of four Construction Master Mediators in New York. 

The collaborators on the project included architect, Yale professor, and Columbia University alumnus Joel Sanders and New York architect Greg Epstein. Sanders collaborated on the project through his studio, JSA/MIXdesign, and Epstein through his firm, GNE Architecture.

rusk firm

Professor Rusk said: 

We were excited to be in London for the International Property Awards. The awards always include members of Parliament in the judging panel, and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with Lord Best about global politics. This project was [the result of] a great collaboration. I think one of the aspects that elevated the project was that it had a visual concept—of bringing a penthouse’s outdoor spaces down into the apartment. This idea, of bringing rain or sunlight down into the living space, is exciting. Here, the idea was anchored by a folded-steel staircase without stringers—the site-welded steel plate was an inch thick to support the concrete steps. As they turned at the bottom, they became a concrete platform with a concrete couch made comfortable by cushions and rounded edges. In the powder room, we used a special translucent concrete, which was back-lit. When the light was off, the back wall of the powder room was an interesting piece of concrete. But flick a switch and you could see the aggregate in the concrete in a beautiful, natural dispersal through the material. We’ve built a number of beautiful penthouses throughout the city, and I’m excited that Columbia supports my educational Lunch and Learns. Our next Lunch and Learn is about the technical aspects of urban gardens, from code to lighting and strategies for keeping plants alive and rooftop furniture from blowing off. It’s modeled on a presentation I made at the Royal Automobile Club in London on January 31 on the nuts and bolts of working in New York for European designers. 


About the Program

Columbia’s Master of Science in Construction Administration program prepares graduates for a variety of careers at the forefront of construction and project leadership. Graduates develop rewarding careers with some of the world’s most respected architecture, engineering, and construction firms, entrusted with delivering some of the most impactful projects of our time.

The application deadlines for the fall 2023 M.S. in Construction Administration program is June 15. Learn more here.



Project photo credits to Annie Schlecter