In 2019, wannabe-heiress Anna Sorokin, also known as Anna Delvey, was sentenced to 4-12 years in prison on multiple counts of grand larceny. For those unfamiliar with her story, Anna Sorokin was born outside Moscow to working-class parents. However, she used her natural charisma and connections to create an intricate web of lies that allowed her to seem like she was a wealthy trust-fund baby. She eventually befriended and defrauded many rich people of hundreds of thousands of dollars to sustain her lifestyle, and faked financial documents to gain loans. In interviews conducted for an article on her life, reporters found many descriptions of who Sorokin was. However, everyone interviewed agreed that Anna Sorokin was incredibly stylish. Considering the importance of her image, this makes sense. However, it is interesting to consider the kind of work she would create if she were a designer instead. Keep reading this article to understand what Anna “Delvey” Sorokin would be like as an architect.

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Anna “Delvey” Sorokin in a 2021 interview_ABC News 20/20, https://s.abcnews.com/images/US/abc_AnnaIntv4_le_210928_1632854240544_hpEmbed_16x9_992.jpg

What Was Anna “Delvey” Sorokin’s Aesthetic?

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Neoclassical buildings in downtown New York_Reddit, https://preview.redd.it/4uzv1m3l59241.jpg?width=960&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=ce932e7939b3bce46baf52387db9737d9dad4a9c

Undoubtedly, Anna “Delvey” Sorokin’s aesthetic is old money. This style is related to the idea that generations of wealth have allowed someone to curate a strong and classic sense of taste in all aspects of life. These can range from the brands of couture you wear to what kind of wine you drink. Overall, old money is about tradition and classicism

If old money is Anna’s overall aesthetic, it is critical to find the architectural equivalent of the style. Naturally, neoclassical architecture is the first time that comes to mind. Neoclassical architecture is ubiquitous in places like Paris and London. Neoclassicism involves simplicity, grandeur, and elements of ancient Greek and Roman architecture like columns, to name a prominent feature of the style. Neoclassicism is also a popular style in New York City, where Anna based her scam for multiple years. Most buildings along Wall Street and  5th avenue on the Upper East Side are strongly neoclassical in design. Neoclassical design is consequently associated with wealth in the city, and newer neoclassical structures incorporate motifs of this style while still creating modern condominiums.

What Kind of Structures Would Anna “Delvey” Sorokin Design

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Architectural rendering of the seventh floor gallery of 540 west 25th street, New York_Bonetti/Architecture https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2019/06/Pace-6.jpg

At the centre of Anna’s purported goals as a trust-fund daughter was her desire to set up a private member’s club and art foundation for the rich and elite. If she were an architect designing an entire structure, this would be her pinnacle project. The space would be a reimagined neoclassical low-rise building in Manhattan, likely in a trendy district like Tribeca or Soho. She would try her best to secure a site between two modern, curtain-glass skyscrapers, so the contrast between her neoclassical structure and the other modern structures would be emphasised. 

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Conceptual rendering of a new atrium at 60 Wall Street_Paramount Group, https://imgs.6sqft.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/17113454/60-Wall-Street-5.jpg

The building would rise around eight to ten stories and be constructed of light-grey sandstone to align with the traditional colours and materiality of heritage homes on the upper east side. However, instead of the traditional structural elements of this style, Delvey would move the load-bearing core of the building to its rear third, where she would organise service areas, passageways, stairs and elevators between floors. 

The front third of the building would be used for double height atriums every two floors up till the sixth floor, with large windows letting in ample sunlight. These open, double height rooms would also function as the primary art-display spaces, leaving room for easy movement through the space. The atriums would connect to two floors in the middle third of the building. Each floor would be split into a series of small, cozy lounge areas for patrons to both relax and discuss the artwork on display.

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Rooftop pool at the Gansevoort hotel, New York_Harpers Bazaar, https://hips.hearstapps.com/hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/images/gansevoort-meatpacking-1564517036.jpg?crop=1xw:1xh;center,top&resize=980:*

A hidden, private access elevator would lead to the top four floors of the building. These floors would house further member club facilities, including three to four rooms for artists in residence, eight to ten hotel rooms, art studios, a restaurant, and a hidden speakeasy. The rooftop space would be an enclosed solarium with a small rooftop pool offering incredible views of the surrounding cityscape. 

Anna “Delvey” Sorokin’s Hotel Design Business

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_Interiors of the Royal Suite at the Carlyle New York_Architectural Digest, https://media.architecturaldigest.com/photos/56d4e22ace4f38152ccc841a/master/w_1600,c_limit/most-requested-room-carlyle-03.jpg

As someone who lived for months in some of the most iconic hotels in New York City, another area of Anna “Delvey” Sorokin’s focus as a designer would be urban hotels. Sorokin could become a designer for hotels of the same calibre as Andre Fu and Kerry Hill. Her work would be an updated version of the old money aesthetic, using inspiration from hotels like the Aman Venice and the Carlyle New York for decor. The style would undoubtedly include plush, high-pile carpeted flooring in neutral, earthy tones. Furniture would be dark wood and finished in glossy lacquer. She would make sure to utilise a variety of rich textures across the room, with her fabrics of choice being deep velvets, silken cloth, and supple leather. A staple feature of her rooms would be classic four-poster beds with incredibly high thread count sheets. She also wouldn’t shy away from colour in her designs, using everything from pastel shades to deeper cool colours like greens and blues for pops of colour.

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Anna “Delvey” Sorokin is a name that will remain infamous for the years to come. Her wit, charisma, and exploits are incredible by anyone’s standards. Some even say she is a robin hood of sorts, stealing from the rich and playing them in the process. Others question her relevance in a world dealing with far more critical issues. Everyone wonders who she is. What remains clear is that she is an unquestionably stylish woman – and would make a very talented architect and interior designer, should she ever decide work is no longer beneath her standing.

Author

Aaditya Bhasker he is an undergraduate student of Architecture and Urban-Studies at Haverford College. He hopes to channel his passion for architecture into social justice work surrounding housing reform in India. Outside academia, they also enjoy watching movies, reading, and hiking with their dog in Hong Kong, where they currently lives

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