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9th Street loft / Messana O'Rorke

  • Architects: Messana O'Rorke
  • Location: New York City, New York, USA
  • Design Partners: Brian Messana and Toby O'Rorke
  • Design Team: Christopher Courtney
  • Lighting Designer: Zerolux
  • Mechanical Engineer: M.A. Rubiano
  • Photographs: Elizabeth Felicella

© Elizabeth Felicella © Elizabeth Felicella © Elizabeth Felicella © Elizabeth Felicella

From the architect. An unforgiving block in the Far East of the East Village provided the location for a unique living space for an alternative couple and their collection of art and contemporary furniture. The harsh streetscape of public housing and a neighboring tenement squat, melt into oblivion upon passing through two large steel doors into the new apartment, where another architecture has been established.

© Elizabeth Felicella
© Elizabeth Felicella

Needless to say the original storefront space had nothing to recommend it, with the exception of scale. The twelve-foot ceilings, steel columns and thick wooden beams, were the only features. From the outset the intension was to crate an abstract space with its own urban form; blocks of program divide the living spaces in the same way that buildings define a city. A wall of opaque plastic simulates sunshine opposite the entry hall. The kitchen is unperceived in a white lacquer and stainless steel orthogonal form. Passing through a square arch one arrives into a large open space, with a high-level slot window, which provides views of the sky to the south.

© Elizabeth Felicella
© Elizabeth Felicella

A fifty-foot linear light fixture runs the length of the space, passing from the large gallery type space through a narrow gap between enclosed spaces into another space beyond. Each area is defined by architecture, but function is abstracted, hidden and obscured. A sofa, a table, or a bed, becomes the only elements that describe the domestic function of each space.

© Elizabeth Felicella
© Elizabeth Felicella
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"9th Street loft / Messana O'Rorke" 07 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>