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  7. Outlier Lofts / French 2D

Refurbishment in Architecture

presented by the MINI Clubman

Outlier Lofts / French 2D

  • 10:00 - 15 November, 2018
  • Curated by Fernanda Castro
Outlier Lofts / French 2D
Outlier Lofts / French 2D, © John Horner
© John Horner

© John Horner © John Horner © John Horner © John Horner + 20

  • Architects

  • Location

    Boston, Massachusetts United States
  • Category

  • Virtual Staging

    Spotless Agency
  • Area

    1600.0 ft2
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

© John Horner
© John Horner

Text description provided by the architects. Outlier Lofts, designed by Boston-based architecture firm French 2D, is a renovation that addresses the site’s many historical layers. Sited on an urban corner in the neighborhood of Charlestown, the existing structure underwent a series of re-orientations, a history that French 2D threads into the new design, considering the way its three sides operate as both ‘backs’ and ‘fronts’ of the building.

© John Horner
© John Horner

The building was originally constructed in the 19th century as a pair of connected townhouses with entrances facing a wide canal and a sea of potato sheds along a trainline. Following a fire in the 1960s that destroyed the third floor, the building was reoriented, with its main entrance shifted to an abutting side street, eventually becoming a bar. The current renovation maintains the bar’s side entrance and creates three loft-style flats, entered from the short side of the building. Each loft measures 1,529 square feet with two bedrooms and two baths. The ghosts of previous entrances are maintained along the building's original frontage with the new window arrangements that echo the townhouse rhythm. The architects re-introduced the lost third floor, incorporating a new saw-tooth roof that creates a “mohawk-like” profile facing the elevated highway and roads beyond. The short side of the building maintains a straight-faced integration among its more traditional neighbors. “Like a friendly nod to those entering Boston from the highway, the reimagined building addresses the city as a new front face for a neighborhood that might otherwise be seen as inward-looking,” notes cofounding partner Jenny French.

Site Plan
Site Plan

For the new design, French 2D engaged in a deep interest in the imagined inner life of the building, and in creating a surface tension that accommodates it’s many historical iterations. With no signage but high political visibility (via a historically political clientele), the bar that previously inhabited the building  – ‘Old Sully’s’ – was one of the most invisible yet visible buildings in Charlestown. It also served as a location in Ben Affleck’s recent film The Town. French 2D worked through these narratives, as well as that of the original townhouses with an industrial edge, to arrive at a contemporary dwelling that allows multiple histories to be read through a single structure.

© John Horner
© John Horner
Folded Drawing
Folded Drawing
© John Horner
© John Horner

French 2D's interest in imagined lives and layered history is explored beyond the architecture in an experimental staging project to create the interior images of the lofts. Says co-founding partner Anda French, “This project speculates on architectural production by misusing representational tools like virtual staging, a rendering technique popular in the real estate industry to sell empty homes, and by using orthographic drawings to conjure ghosts.  Plans and elevations collapse multiple realities, while final photographs are inhabited by a cast of the structure’s past and future furniture residents.”

© John Horner
© John Horner

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Project location

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Outlier Lofts / French 2D" 15 Nov 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
© John Horner

Outlier Lofts,一栋由过去和未来居民决定的公寓 / French 2D

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