What happens when an artistic couple and an industrial-and-reuse-oriented architecture firm collide? Something like this: an otherwise-ordinary West Village townhouse turned into a light-filled live/work art studio … complete with pieces of old metal truck trailers protruding from the top and projecting out the front.
Lawrence and Alice Weiner wanted more room and daylight . Building codes lent a hand, allowing them to work with the architects of LOT-EK (famous for many offbeat refabs and a copious use of cargo containers) add another story to the top of their residence. The rigid structure of semi trailers makes sense for architectural use in general, while the linearity and consistent sizing lends itself to the sort of stacking used in this instance. Getting the notion of reused truck parts past the local heritage commission, though, sounds like it was a bit of a trick.
In the end, needs on all fronts were met. Grumbling neighbors gave in to the modifications, which are surprisingly subtle from a strict perspective of scale and fit to the neighborhood. The owners had more floor space and generous pop-outs in front, with a rooftop garden alongside two truck shells. And LOT-EK, as always, got to appropriate pieces of existing technology, trucking these parts to yet another destination.
“The design had to conform to the Landmark Commission’s idea of ‘appropriateness’. To mediate the Commission’s desire for a continuous brick street front, while still honoring the client/program need for abundant natural light, the front façade is conceived as a brick wall pierced and plugged by three large bay windows. These are stacked vertically — one for each floor above street level. The bay windows are recycled from sections of stainless steel truck bodies.”
“They protrude from the façade and act as different programs at different levels: a kitchen bench on the ground floor, conference nook on the second floor and bed platform on the third floor. Aside from the architectural reuse of the truck bodies, the building has a strong green component in terms of energy, materials and systems. In addition to the green roof and photovoltaic panels, the house also features: A high R-value translucent curtain-wall for the rear façade (by Kalwall); An efficient pre-manufactured radiant floor heating system (by Warmboard); Stair treads of salvaged wood, natural rubber floors, fluorescent and LED lighting, VOC-free paint, formaldehyde-free insulation, as well as energy-efficient appliances and mechanical/electrical equipment.”