Urban Loft Residence in Chelsea, New York by OBRA
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LOFT IN CHELSEA

New York, New York
NOVEMBER 2000

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The renovation of a 1900 square foot loft on West 17th Street in Manhattan proposes a redistribution of functional spaces defined by plastic walls. In this residence for a young urban couple, rooms are separated not by planes but by inhabitable volumes, where the spatial pressures of living find balance to de-form surfaces and create niches of privacy and intimacy within.The basic distribution has been improved by introducing two new rooms to replace the existing guestroom formerly located between living room and master bedroom. At the east end of the apartment, a new study helps to define an entry vestibule providing added privacy and a sense of anticipation to the moment of arrival. The study, which will be used as a film editing office, connects to the living room through a narrow door between two of the oversized windows that bring natural light into the apartment. This organization provides the main living space with visually elongated depth and a sense of mystery, via the light-filled volume of a space "beyond" which can be glimpsed partially through the opening.

Activity in the study can be detected by shadows which flicker as they are projected on an etched glass surface, backlit and glowing. Entry into the main space reveals the lofty ceiling of arches which add height and character to the rather large living and dining area. Functions in this main volume are open and fluid, with ample space for a large dining table, a long, low antique Korean seating divan owned by the couple, sofas, chairs, and a TV housed in a rolling cabinet designed to encourage the space's flexibility. The main partition bends to the body, creating a daybed for the afternoon light. From the passageway a yellow glow emanates from the child's bedroom through a glazed opening above the hallway linen closet. Both walls of the bedroom flex and bend to maximize function, giving space for the bed and leaving room for ample storage.