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The suburbs, with their narrow definition of what constitutes a ‘house,’ can be an uninspiring place for poets to live. New York-based firm Para-Project decided to flout arbitrary conventions of suburban architecture with a rectilinear white writing studio squeezed between two typical homes, an unexpected visual for the Syracuse neighborhood.
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Designed for two poets who own one of those homes, Haffenden House takes its visual inspiration from Ice House II, a 1972 installation by artist Gianni Pettena that achieved a similar effect by coating an abandoned home in water in the middle of the freezing Minnesota winter.
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The clients wanted an airy, light-filled space with minimal distractions that could function as an escape from the bland surroundings of their residence. Para-Project covered the structure in a translucent silicon-impregnated fabric skin and created a bowl-shaped division between the second and third levels to let in natural light and provide a curved reading room.
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The studio includes a garage and breezeway on the ground level and a library and writing space on the second level. An in-ground tub looks out onto the backyard through a large glazed wall for the ultimate relaxing reading experience.