S-M-L Loft


Exhibit the ordinary

The gut renovation of this 2500sf cast iron SoHo Loft responds to the industrial history of the building. The plan of the existing loft provided a clean, rectangular geometry punctuated by a common entryway and egress stair. The design response embraces this geometry by wrapping these two volumes and a third created by the kitchen in a bespoke, operable metal cladding system, creating three standing objects - Small, Medium and Large. These volumes float within the otherwise pure geometry of the floor plan, straddling the original line of cast-iron columns and exposed timber beam, and generating a visual contrast of new against old from front to back of the residence.

The volumetric objects — S-M-L — are strategically placed within the public space, providing a staggered canvas of intricately detailed yet utilitarian masses which conceal the ordinary functions of domestic life - kitchen, storage, entry. The S object conceals a coat closet and security system serving the reclaimed steel entry door. The M object conceals the storage and refrigerators which serve the pure white kitchen insert. L wraps and inflates the volume of the building’s egress stair, providing bookshelves, a built-in desk, A/V closet and powder room within the interstitial spaces of the mass.

The materiality of the three objects was an intense area of study, as these punctuating volumes became the highlight of the unit. Extensive digital and physical studies investigating various combinations of wood, glass and metal were performed, and in the end a perforated, patinated steel sheet assembly was selected for both its hard and soft qualities. The operation of the assembly was precise, heavy and industrial in feel, however the look of the panels from afar has a soft, almost suede-like appearance. The three objects are structured by steel frames and clad in the individual panels of standard sizing, some operable and others fixed. Panel pulls are concealed in an edge reveal, intentionally causing each of the objects to read as militantly standardized and concealing their highly specific interiors.

The balance of the loft is finished in pure raw materials, quietly providing a refined backdrop to the steel feature. Cast iron columns were painstakingly scraped of their fuschia paint, brick party walls were revealed and sealed and the raw timber beam structure of the original factory building was revealed and emphasized by a substantial ceiling reveal and indirect lighting. The white oak flooring running the length of the unit is 15-18” wide live sawn boards. Bathroom finishes consist of solid walnut millwork and raw concrete panels floating within a stark white porcelain tile.

The minimalist interiors of S-M-L loft reflect a very specific program brief from the unit owners. The clean, wide, open, modern floor plan is achieved through exacting detailing around systems integration including HVAC, A/V and lighting. A highly customizable, luminous interior is created with indirect lighting details throughout the unit creating light coves as well as razor-edged soffits which up-light the ceiling surface. This precision in both design and construction allow the unit to exhibit the S-M-L volumes as stand-alone objects floating within their pristine environment and in dialogue with the unit’s industrial past.

Private Client
2,500sf Soho loft gut renovation
Completed 2018
Amy Barkow