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
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.
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.
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.