The apartment on the top floor of the Downtown Athletic Club building looks out over New York Harbor, its south and west facing windows provide both spectacular views and intense sunlight. The studio is a landing and meeting space for single person traveling almost constantly across time zones. The combination of exposure, variable use, and a time schedule often out of sync with daylight suggested a form of adaptation where the space’s scale, equipment and atmosphere can be put into play with one another.
Exposure, use, and tone are calibrated in variable surface performance. Modulating the passages of light in and out of the envelope and the tensions developed at their intersections forms one set of surfaces. The stone floor and wall form a second surface, the containing and reflecting one. A third set of surfaces afford the fluctuations of use, as an office, conference room for six with video and white board; and a residence.
The first surfaces are milled white corian louvers, they block and allow passage in multiple directions. They open views to the harbor’s traffic and monuments while blocking direct sunlight
at the extreme periods of the day converting intense light into an indirect glow and allowing local views in oblique directions. In these panels light is modulated by three variable edges, their invention, an additional edge gives another direction of control. Blackout shades effectively shift the day to night for the traveler.
The fluctuating surfaces act as folding, pivoting, and sliding containers and supports, they form perimeter storage; conceal and open the bed and desk; and reflect light into the most recessed spaces. The desk and bed fold into the space one at a time. The extremely lightweight folding desk constructed as corrugated molded carbon fiber allows for easy movement, it has a flat and pleated side and a fine 3mm edge. When rotating up or down its maximum effective weight is less than a gallon of water, 8-1/2 pounds.
Window Louver Glass Stone
In contemporary terms a boundary as well as its passage are understood in nuanced and variable terms, movements occur in degrees of articulated and variable quantities; rather than imagine absolute passage with no interference from media we are accustomed to media’s participation in all forms of passage. Full surface transparency in any sense is an imaginary even strangely anachronistic possibility, a screen emerges in this entanglement of media. Capture, passage, reflection are collapsed into one another in the screen’s performance, the luminous projection screen, the filter, the blockages or protector are all implicated in the contemporary surface. A screen is a modulator of passage, reception and reflection, and each of these movements involves an agency, someone to engage it, to activate the virtual connections waiting to themselves reanimate their players.
The louverscreens, three pairs in all, are developed in the intricate play of the mobile section. The repeated and varied cross-section allows for the passages, reflection and capture of light and vision. Each screen is a materialization of light’s passage producing a glow interspersed with direct passage and complete blockage. In concrete terms, from one position the Statue of Liberty is visible while Governor’s Island is not and the Spring morning sun enters while the afternoon Summer light does not.
Here, optics are materially motivated, specific geometries of matter and artifacts are located to measure the specific passages through the membranes, they are both responsive and productive of new qualities. The membrane takes on a liquid quality, it is a deformable fluid acting like a contemporary free form lens where passage is locally determined forming smoothly continuous territories. They are in a sense liquid screens.
Carbon fiber sheet when pleated or corrugated maintains its fabric curtain like quality, it also gains tremendous strength and here the inflection of one surface against the other makes an ultralight coreless table. The three components of the table, its top, leg and brace share integral linear pathways as they hinge.