Vision & Reality: Architectural Renderings vs Finished Refab

Drawings by architects are rarely meant to (and perhaps never can) be actual representations of reality – they are always perspectives, even if they are plans or sections. This project shows, though, that even when a project changes, the original vision need not necessarily be lost.

Silver+Ong had a lot to contend with in this New York warehouse-to-condo conversion from late 1970s. Their first step was to strip out dropped ceilings and partition walls that divided various cramped and closed-off interior spaces in this three-story shoe box.

Though many of the more fanciful details were left behind in the transition from 3D models to physical reality, the initial gestures were carried through admirably – and some of the actual moves made more sense than the drawing versions did (for instance: giving up on a space-displacing spiral staircase).

A subtle emphasis on linear, corner-turning elements – to visually connect the front-and-back-of-house areas – was preserved in spirit if not rigorously in detail, transforming from a formal gesture to an executable design along the way.

All in all, this project provides a good example of how the finished product can be perhaps less sexy but more livable than the first round draft(sman’s) pick.

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