The 465PA apartment renovation transforms two separate pre-war apartments into one, full-floor domestic living space for a couple, one a life-long passionate art collector/consultant and the other, a psychologist/psychiatrist researching perception and the unconscious.
The design strategy and key concept was to make a profound connection between the Owner’s love of art and architecture and how the two kinds of spaces, one symbolic and one literal, can combine in powerful and elegant ways that promote a sense of quiet and inward reflection. This space of calm would stand in marked contrast to the tumultuousness of the city and life just outside the door. The owner’s substantial collection of “Space & Light” artists from the 60’s & 70’s, works by John McCracken, Sam Francis, and Damien Hirst to cite just a few, were the crucible and harbinger for the architectural proposition that emerged. Namely, the appropriation of everyday space into their art and to more fully exploited the power of situational aesthetics & found architectural space (appropriation.) We are interested in how these artists manipulate everyday material and space to induce perceptual qualities that subvert the boundaries between literal and symbolic space, and shift the focus of art from “idea/concept” into “experience/event,” or performative architectures. The boundary between art and life is broken open and exploited, explored for its potential to transform and sublimate everyday experience. We sought in this “domestic project” to renegotiate the terms between art and domesticity by doubling-down, raising the stakes, on their own experiment into domestic space.
Our investigation began with a deep dive into the existing building and its spatial and material conditions. The existing core and perimeter became “bounded space” we could renegotiate and operate within these two limits. The design that emerged was a series of architectonic wall systems, or equipment packs, deployed in a series of concentric bars arrange around core elevators and infrastructure of the 1930’s residential tower. The original core and infrastructure of building is wrapped in dark, pleated Tay-Koto millwork planks that house elevator, key bath and kitchen, plumbing/electrical infrastructure and storage. In contrast, the existing perimeter walls of building are lined in a highly reflective glass and Parapan liner (see photos.) Sandwiched in-between these opposing material surfaces, one absorbing the other reflecting space and light, is a series of gun-blue finished metal display units that house various art objects. The resulting spaces between these systems become the living areas of the house. A room is the resultant effect of the interaction of these various wall systems. The spaces of contrast that emerge between darkened wood walls and the reflective white glass planes produces a gap or void where works of art can operate as pivot points and a kind of orientation device (See the diagram of art and space.)
Photography by © David Sundberg / Esto