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WOOSTER STREET
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“It is not the conduct of bodies but rather the conduct of something that existed between them, i.e. the field, that could be essential for ordering and interpreting all events.”
Albert Einstein

For the Wooster Street project, we were asked to re-design the 5th floor of a converted SOHO loft building to residential space for an art collector. This highly urban living condition reflects the "nomadic" quality of today's metropolis. As the owner moves between London and New York, the internet is the primary mode of communication.

LOFT = existing space, manipulated. Reconstituted with additions and divisions, standard residential elements reformulated, to create spatial continuities.

In the design for the loft, different zones are generated - public / private / guest areas, and a concept of "connective cuts" is developed. Planes are introduced as connective membranes not only by means of translucency, but also by slicing these planes and separating them into suspended, floating, and pivoting elements.

As a result, areas or fields of occupation have formed, with fluid, continuous space flowing between them. The private areas differentiate themselves from the public zones by a shift in material and scale. The master bathroom is seen as a pivot point between the public and private areas, a blue concrete island wrapped in a glass capsule, off of which folded surfaces further extend to encapsulate the other private zones. Mostly detailed in soft walnut surfaces, the bedroom, bathroom and library form one continuum. These texture changes in the walls, floors and windows further designate these areas as hard, soft and neutral spaces. Doors and enclosures are replaced by shifts in volume, and transitions into different areas become "hinge-points", while providing visual privacy. Overall, the continuity of these interlocking volumes creates a residence of overlapping intersections and interweaving space.

A kitchen is situated within the fold of a wall section, its work surfaces suspended. As the section plane is sliced, one is within several distinct rooms, once contained within the kitchen area; two soft surfaces are cantilevered from an existing column; a work surface and a pivoting translucent breakfast bar.

A fireplace stands, as it's own entity; separate from the existing wall and cut to form the hearth. Again, the fire can be seen and heard; its heat altering the view of the space behind it.

A free-floating glass bathroom capsule, the functions of which are sculpted into one element and wrapped in a series of laminated glass planes, serves to divide spaces only physically. The water from the shower can be seen and heard, the heat from which can be seen as steam collects on the surfaces of the glass. The glass planes, made of Japanese blue-green Sumiglass, are held in a custom designed stainless steel frame. The bathroom within the capsule, treated as a blue sculptural island, is finished with blue fiber reinforced cement, which was waxed and polished to obtain a smooth surface. The stainless steel toilets are Metcraft prison toilets with integral seats, and the polished stainless steel sinks and faucets are by Kroin.

Credits

Year: Completed 1998
Location: Soho, NYC
Client: Private
Project Type: Residential Loft
Size: 5000 sq ft
Design Team: Principal in charge: Winka Dubbeldam, Assoc. AIA
Consultants: Structural Engineers: Severud Associations | Mechanical Engineer: Stanislav Slutsky Engineers | Contractor: A.J. Greenwich | Stainless Steel Manufacture: UAD
Photography: Cristoph Kicherer | Archi-Tectonics
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