Messana O'Rorke
Storefront Loft

Storefront Loft

Storefront Loft

Storefront Loft

East 9th Street, New York, NY

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Storefront Loft

Storefront Loft

East 9th Street, New York, NY

An unforgiving block in the Far East of the East Village located in what is called Alphabet City provided the location for a unique living space for an alternative couple and their collection of art and contemporary furniture. The existing space located on the ground floor separated itself from the life of the street with an ominous brick wall having only two very small square windows allowing very little natural light to find it’s way into the space. Prior to our project, the space was used as an art gallery and various other functions including housing monks and their pet Lama.

The harsh street scape of public housing and a neighboring tenement squat, melt into oblivion upon passing through two large steel doors into the new apartment, where another architecture has been established.

Needless to say the original storefront space had nothing to recommend it, with the exception of scale. The twelve-foot ceilings, steel columns and thick wooden beams, were the only features. From the outset, the intension was to create an abstract space with its own urban form; blocks of program divide the living spaces in the same way that buildings define a city. A wall of opaque plastic simulates sunshine opposite the entry hall and kitchen. Behind the opaque plastic is a stairway leading to the basement level. The kitchen is unperceived in a white lacquer and stainless steel orthogonal form. Passing through an opening between two blocks of storage and program one arrives into a large open space, the living and dining areas which a high-level slot window, was introduced to provide sun light and views of the southern sky. In the dinning area there is a custom plywood dining room/work table by Messana O’Rorke Architects.

To accentuate the length of the space and to provide a source of artificial lighting a custom fifty-foot stainless steel linear light fixture was introduced running the length of the space, passing from the large gallery type space through a narrow gap between enclosed spaces into another space beyond, the bedroom. The bathroom is tucked away adjacent to the bedroom, the floors covered in white Theasos stone tile and the walls in a white subway tile. When entering the bathroom, the first element that is encountered is the toilet which is behind a clear glass door with a floor to ceiling recessed florescent light fixture running up the wall and adjacent, making a spectacle and or an art piece of the toilet.

Each area is defined by architecture, but function is abstracted, hidden and obscured. A sofa, a table, or a bed, becomes the only elements that describe the domestic function of each space.