Client: Cliff Rosen
West End Avenue
An early project by Soluri Architecture, the Rosen Residence is a high-concept, low budget combination and renovation of two 500 square-foot studio apartments in New York City’s Upper West Side neighborhood.
With limited resources, the client desired to combine and completely transform these two generic “vanilla box” studio apartments to create a striking, contemporary loft. While he ultimately wanted to create a single open space, he wanted to designate different areas by use: working, sleeping, lounging, resting, etc.
DESIGN PROCESS & INTENT
We began this project’s design with an analysis of the different uses that the client wanted to designate throughout the loft. After extensive discussions with the client, we determined these uses could be broken down into “five modes of inhabitation”, based on a performative analysis of the client’s lifestyle. Ranging from “Task Mode” to “Veg Mode”, these different modes help chart the levels of “purpose” versus “comfort” for each. Our further analysis found a cyclical structure between these relationships, which helped us develop a plan for the apartment that would allow the occupant to transition between these modes as he navigates the residence. We then developed an architectural language that would signify the modes and designate these distinct areas.
To maximize the client’s budget, we decided to build the project in a hybrid design/build format. The owner directly hired workers and subcontractors, but they received substantial on-site direction from Soluri Architecture. To save costs, the kitchen and bathrooms remained in their original locations, with some existing bathroom fixtures selectively re-used and a new kitchen purchased from IKEA.
We kept the finishes tastefully simple and inexpensive so funds could be utilized strategically for feature elements. These featured elements were chosen for maximum impact, and included the lighting and imported large format tiles In the dining area wall. Lighting was a key element of the project, emphasizing the cyclical nature of the design concept while dramatically transforming the look and feel of the space. Because of the existing low concrete ceilings, the only way to provide new lighting was to use light coves and shallow drops of the ceiling. This technique allowed us to inexpensively differentiate each area without the use of walls, while creating a striking design that maintained the openness of the loft and making the apartment feel larger.