Rear Elevation

Rear Elevation

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This conversion of a former VFW Hall into an artist’s house and studio is predicated on a dialogue between two vernacular forms: the brutalist concrete block and steel construction of the existing building and the residential neighborhood that surrounds it. The north façade retains the character of the original building, with vertical strip windows interspersed by split rib concrete masonry. The south façade, facing the garden, relaxes the window grid typical of masonry buildings to create a dialogue with nearby residential and industrial buildings with a set of large square openings. The steel lintels on the new window openings are exaggerated to add depth to the façade without unnecessary expression. The entire building is washed in a single color, evening out the tone while retaining the texture of past changes to the building.

The interior is split into two: a 3,200 SF loft-like space for the owner alongside a 1,600SF rental apartment. Editing the existing structure to a minimal state, the owner’s unit is characterized by a bridge-like living space floating between the two facades described above: one striated and vertical, the other a relaxed grid. The bridge creates double-height spaces along both principal facades, allowing substantial daylight into the below-grade bedroom and studio spaces and minimizing the need for artificial lighting.

Construction 2020.

Project Team: Charlie Cotton, Yunchao Le
Structural Engineer: Structures Workshop