Lofty Design

Oct. 1, 2004
Design FlashLofty DesignBlending the old with the new, this Soho loft is now a contemporary and inviting home that respects its historical background.Balanced and calm, timeless and appropriate. Those were the primary intentions in the restoration and design of a 4,000-square-foot loft on Crosby St. in New York City's fashionable Soho district. Thanks to the creative efforts of New York architect Victoria Blau, this meticulously renovated loft is now a gracious and inviting home that responds to the existing structure and orientation of a building that began its life in 1878 as a garment factory.Satisfying the client's desire for an open and light-filled space, Blau designed the loft to maximize the natural light entering the rear windows of the space. Surfaces parallel to the window plane are constructed of such materials as transparent glass, thus maintaining the passage of light from the rear windows into the open living spaces. Surfaces perpendicular to the window plane are opaque, dividing the open loft into its distinct rooms. The dividing walls are then emphasized by the continued layering of the row of columns that run parallel and alongside the wood and sheetrock walls.The large stained wood wall is pulled in toward the public space and defines the private boundary of the master bedroom, while carved white walls are used to accent and display the owner's personal art collection. References to Japanese simplicity stand side-by-side with modern materials and construction. The design of the master bathroom, for instance, conforms to the lifestyle of the client, using contemporary objects and materials in such a way as to relate to the peaceful traditions of bathing and meditation.Certain elements, such as the kitchen and wood flooring, were kept in their original state with only minor changes. But in an appropriate reference to the home's origins, Blau introduced materials to heighten the contrast of old versus new. For example, the machine cut quality of the glass doorframe juxtaposed against the heavy and permanent quality of the existing exposed brick wall draws attention to the fact that this thoroughly modern home was formerly anything but.

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