The manufacturing space was converted into a residence for family of five, with a gallery for the client’s artwork. It maximizes the openness of the 3,500-square-foot loft, while creating discrete spaces and enabling privacy.
Its most distinctive architectural move is to make the newly added walls seem to float. We created a six-inch gap between these walls when they approach an exterior wall or the dropped ceiling. This is a way of honoring the old building by not hiding it and more clearly distinguishing old from new. The interior walls (none made from sheet rock) are made to feel like furniture. Even trim around the windows doesn’t touch the brick.
A second distinctive architectural move is to place the main passageway diagonally in the rectangular loft space to establish a relationship with and open up a view to the diagonal of Broadway. The diagonal axis is anchored at the northwest corner by a sitting room following the direction of the avenue and bringing in daylight from the north and west. However, the north/south line of old cast iron columns bisecting the space creates another axis aligned with the dominant street grid of Manhattan. The collision of the two axes creates an intriguing tension that animates the loft. Placing rooms off the diagonal means that their walls have some enlivening acute and obtuse angles.
A third noteworthy touch is the insertion of a glass elevator that rises to the loft entry door: When people want to come to the apartment, its residents can see who they are and know if they want to let them in by opening the elevator door.
The loft is on the 4th floor of an eight-story brick building with timber floors dating from the 1860s, when it was a munitions factory supplying arms for the Civil War. The project includes custom mechanical systems with the heating plant in the designated mechanical space and custom designed radiant heating enclosures integrating electrical outlets around all perimeter walls.
New elements include the wide-plank ebonized mahogany flooring, the New Mexican limestone of the master bathroom floor, and the mother-of-pearl terrazzo kitchen floor. The oversized pivoting door between master bedroom and living room screens the sleeping area and master bath from view, while extending the spaciousness of both spaces; the metallic-dyed sycamore of the door and living room wall heighten the effect of the natural lighting. A recess containing a custom etched glass door that pockets into the adjacent wall, and flanked by distinctive sconces, defines the entrance to the loft.