22nd Street Loft+-

project name : 22nd Street Loft

location : New York City

year of design: 1985

client: Anita Pagliaro/ Bill Hayward

architect: George Ranalli

associates: Robert Silman Structural Engineer

design team: Nick Dermand

photographer: George Cserna

Even in the up-and-coming neighborhoods, it’s never a small accomplishment for architecture to transform a dilapidated industrial loft into a family home. In the case of a Chelsea, New York apartment renovation, the achievement applies, without exception, for two cosmopolitan owners seeking a meticulously appointed urban residence that somehow retained the “old feeling.” By means of geometric abstraction, the architecture invokes a delicate transposition, simultaneously referencing the idiosyncratic and the familiar.

By letting go of some customary divisions of household space, and maintaining others, the design introduced two orderly forms unifying a compact arrangement of private rooms and an approachable open living and dining space. From the public hallway, one form composes the antechamber outside a compact library, nestling a writer’s desk surrounded by a chunky wall of bookshelves. The library all but conceals a confidential rise of four stairs, to a bedroom suite, fashioned between a double wardrobe-cum-dressing room, on one side, and deep-set closets, on the other. A companion form, inserted alongside the bedroom suite, partners in establishing a wide hallway into a large open room. Midway across the hall, the smaller of the two new forms makes a neat enclosure around a spacious kitchen, which features cabinetry and storage, a double sink, appliances, and spacious work surfaces.

Disposed by adjustments of surface modeling, and brightened by strong sunlight through the windows of the old loft, density transforms. The design of numerous slots, alcoves, and niches, heightened by shade and reflection, evokes an enigmatic condition. Overhanging lanky metal adornments, and a glimpse of a brass-winged canopy, hovering above the bedroom, imbue the living and dining spaces with illusion. At the smaller scale, a coherence of form and materiality appointing the architectural elements shape handcrafted lighting and household furnishings for comfortable, sculptural seating and elegant dining for eight. The residence embodies the illusory atmosphere of artistic poise.