We were given the task to develop a four year investment plan for a ten unit apartment building in the fifteenth district of Vienna. Making it not only more energy efficient, but also increasing livability for its renters were goals of our client. Given that the north of this building faces a street with few trees and relatively high vehicular traffic, we explored various ways by which to green its facade. In its more extensive variation, this would not only bring some nature to the street, but also improve the air quality in its vicinity. The rear of the building has a beautiful southern exposure for which we proposed adding a balcony to each of the apartments. All the sun that the garage roofs receive throughout the year would make them ideal for solar energy collection. We analyzed this as an option compared to greening the garage roofs, which would bring lots of other advantages to the very grey back yard. New windows and insulation is planned throughout, as well as a new roof.
The addition and renovation planned are for summer 2015.
September 23, 2014 -- Ruth Mandl has been promoted to Principal and we are officially a women owned architectural firm - one of only 5 in Brooklyn and only 20 in New York City.
Full gut renovation and spatial re-conception of an existing three family railroad apartment building. Design included new VRF mechanical system for air conditioning, reconfiguration of plumbing and upgrading electrical, new acoustically isolated ceilings between units, new oak flooring throughout, new windows and thermal insulation along exterior envelope. Creative implementation of fixtures and finishes throughout all three units, mixing original character of the building while providing functionality and a clean updated aesthetic. Construction began in December of 2014 and is expected to reach substantial completion by May 2015.
This approx. 675 square foot, corner apartment was gut renovated, and changed from being a one bedroom to a two bedroom unit. We exposed the existing brick wall, and opened up the kitchen to the living space. A custom sliding counter, made from a re-claimed bowling alley floor, provides flexibility between a larger kitchen and a big table for dinner parties. New York City apple boxes contribute a playful and budget conscious approach to upper cabinets. Custom copper piping fixtures deliver the water in the kitchen and the bath, exposing some of the plumbing elements that are normally hidden from view.
Construction finished in February 2014
Photos of finished space by Peter Dressel.
Triskelion Arts has been around for 14 years, offering five rehearsal studios, two of which can convert to performance spaces for the dance and performance community, in Williamsburg. Because their original home is being converted into condominiums, they are moving to their very own building in Greenpoint. We have been working with them since the summer of 2013 to convert what was once a contractors garage and offices into a large auditorium, seating 120 people, as well as three rehearsal studios. The project is under construction now, and will be open by late-winter 2015.
This existing physical therapy center moved to a new location around the corner from its previous one and asked us to create an energetic and light design for their new space. Color highlights the different uses and accent changes in energy levels - reception, equipment room and treatment rooms, which are open and connected. Suspended LED lighting maximizes the ceiling height while the colorful conduit runs help emphasize the different programmatic areas. Whole wall and half wall decals add life to the space while providing a more resistant surface under a datum line. The flooring is a three-toned speckled recycled rubber tile that is wear resistant and, along with some custom wooden elements, give the space warmth.
Construction finished in December 2013.
Tree designs adapted from a design by Lara Schlunderberg
Photos of finished space by Peter Dressel.
We were asked to design a small house on a thirty-four acre, south sloping property in Pine Plains, New York that will be a couple's home away from home outside of the city. Their wish was to have as much open space as possible, with only the bathroom and a storage space as enclosed rooms. They own a limited edition Airstream, and asked us to design the house around the idea that the Airstream could stand inside during colder months, acting as a bedroom and another bathroom, and roll outside in summer months, essentially allowing the livable space to grow and more people to stay.
Our design is rectangular in plan, with large operable windows facing south that allow the passage of the Airstream. Because the interior is fundamentally open plan, we explored an undulating roof line to delineate inside space, evoking a barn-like feeling that speaks to the local vernacular of the area. Skylights let northern light filter in from the backside of the house, and a low opening on the south side allows natural ventilation to be utilized in the summer to cool the space. A large deck with wood slat overhang overlooks the beautiful view into the rolling hills beyond, and enables the winter sun to filter deep into the house, while blocking the summer sun from penetrating.
The project is in construction documentation, and is anticipated to go into construction in spring 2015.
This existing row house was formally a two family building, which we were asked to turn into a single family, whilst incorporating a small addition on the second story in the same footprint as the existing appendage. The building will receive new, triple glazed tilt and turn windows throughout, as well as a dramatically improved thermal envelope that allows us to remove the existing, inefficient and now oversized heating system, to be replaced with a new, minimal heating and cooling system. The existing wood flooring will be retained throughout, complemented with a modern and updated interior. Construction is anticipated to begin in May 2015.
Coclico's shoes are made from natural materials and have warm, earthy tones with bright colors providing the occasional highlight. Our black and white re-design for the store allows the shoes to become the center of attention by providing a clean and simple backdrop for their display. Undulating white shelves wrap the perimeter of the store and branch from a central bench, while the black refinished bamboo floor grounds the desaturated store. The shoes become the colored pigment in an otherwise colorless landscape. The cantilevered bench is fabricated from a large steel plate with a black wax finish, highlighting its construction along the top and edge, mirroring the color of the floor. The cashiers counter too, is a juxtaposition of black and white, though it sets itself apart from the shelves by its shiny white finish. The expansive cantilevers of the long shelves, reaching out from the wall up to two feet, are braced internally with an intricate steel outrigger system nested behind the refinished walls. The play of asymmetry throughout the store allows for the geometry to carry the shoes at different levels, providing a varied and compelling means of display for Coclico's beautiful shoes.
Asked by Company XIV to explore increasing the square footage of their existing theatre, we came up with three distinct options. The addition in all cases includes adding a bar, an in-house costume shop and the potential for a larger lobby space, but in all three options the relationship between these program elements and the theatre varies.
The first and smallest option plays with the proximity of costume shop and bar. It considers a visitor to the theatre bar getting a glimpse into the makings of some of the intricate costumes the company makes for their shows - providing a very singular experience of a look behind theatre scenes.
The second option offers the opportunity to actually travel through the theatre as a bar visitor - thereby possibly getting a glimpse of the ongoing show while climbing the staircase to the bar above, and enticing them to return and see one of Company XIV's amazing shows. In this option the costume shop is located on a mezzanine within the double-height space of the bar, allowing a different behind the scenes glance to bar visitors.
The third and largest option increases part of the already high existing ceiling of 17' by another 19' and inserts the bar to overlook the theatre on its whole back wall. Bar guests can spy on the ongoing show from their high vantage point, allowing for a very unique experience. A mezzanine is incorporated which allows even more theatre seating on a higher level, whilst allowing the floor area of the theatre to be maximized.
This growing family wanted to increase their space by building a new mezzanine floor into their large double-height living room to accommodate the children's bedroom upstairs.
Storage under the new staircase is a priority, and the existing kitchen is opened up by incorporating the fridge underneath the stair. An integrated bench alongside the stair cabinetry defines a dining area and incorporates more storage.
The brief for this project was to design a simple, elegant sliding wall to divide a three year olds room from the current living space of the existing apartment.
The space this wall fills is 8'-3" high by 7' wide. In order to fit it into the elevator and doors of the building, the wall is constructed from two separate panels. The horizontal reveal between them is celebrated and painted blue. Another vertical reveal acts as the handle, this switches panels and therefore its height on opposite sides of the wall. The material changes from a wood paneled finish on the living room side to a white painted finish with sections of blackboard paint on the side that is now the boys room.
As part of a design charette organized by Baukunst Studio called SubSeries, we were asked to re-imagine a subway station in New York City. The work has been exhibited at the Festival of Ideas, Studio X Night School, and is available in print here.
Our proposal for the Marcy Avenue station in Brooklyn suggests shifting rail transportation to the edge of the street and allowing light to reach the ground by utilizing existing buildings for structure. In addition to preserving and renewing the existing buildings, we are increasing their density to integrate the rail system into a vertical public zone. This design aims to test a ground level which is free of vehicle traffic, instead allowing a free zone for pedestrian activity, bicycle paths, and farming to co-exist within an urban context.
Agricultural production extends vertically, using the new public space as a point of sale and consumption. The direct link to a transportation network allows for easy shipping, reducing the travel of consumable goods. This station aims to show how cyclical processes could make urban life not only more efficient, but more transparent in its localized production and use.
Currently, vacant lots are viewed as an all or nothing deal - in which - should the money not be available, or violations have to be cleared, the land remains unused. A void in the dense city scape of New York.
We propose looking at these stale sites as an opportunity for incremental growth.
A small intervention can turn an empty lot into a social gathering place that can bring life into a neighborhood, generate small amounts of income, food or attention and allow it grow into something larger - bit by bit. Instead of of remaining empty until filled with a four-story new development, the site is a catalyst for its own development and a positive space for its community.
On December 6th, 2011, the Steelcase Showroom hosted the second annual Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter design exhibit to benefit the New York City Feral Cat Initiative. Open to the public, this event brought awareness to the needs of homeless, stray, and outdoor cats during the winter months.
Co Adaptive Architecture, in collaboration with designer Kathryn Walton, founder of The American Street Cat, Inc., designed what was voted the winning shelter that night. Not only does it provide warmth and comfort to cats, but also serves as a data monitoring device.
Most of the elements selected to construct the shelter were either recycled or donated. Equipped with a pressure sensor, LED light, and radio transmitter, the shelter not only lights up when occupied, but also sends information to a base station. The weight of the cat and the duration of its stay is posted to the web in real time. Both the light and the data feedback allow for remote verification of occupancy without having to disturb the cat. Since one base station can support hundreds of shelters within a one mile radius, multiple shelters located within multiple cat colonies can provide useful data for caretakers and certified TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) workers.
With over 10,000 homeless, stray, and outdoor cats in New York City alone, this collaboration revealed the exciting potential for combining technological advances with traditional methods of TNR practices. As additional features to this shelter design are explored and developed, the shelter can ultimately be utilized to expedite efforts to minimize the overpopulation problem.