As we approach another New Year’s Eve, we remember with great fondness two of our favorite lofts and our dear friends (BFF’s!) who made these projects possible. Our “Loft with Translucent Panels” was finished just in time for a memorable end-of-the-millennium New Year’s Eve party for Y2K, and our “Loft with Tilted Planes” finished shortly after the New Year. What fun we have had together over almost 2 decades!
LOFT OF TRANSLUCENT PANELS
Ruhl Walker Architects was commissioned to design the complete interior build-out of a residential loft for two executives, one of whom intended to run his business from the home. The unfinished existing loft was a featureless shaft of space, enlivened only by windows at both narrow ends, with spectacular morning and afternoon light and dramatic views of the Boston skyline. The owners desired total openness and flexibility, with all spaces flowing together as freely as possible and having multiple domestic / entertaining / business functions, and with a material palette that would augment these general goals and stimulate the senses.
LOFT OF TILTED PLANES
This loft is a simple rectangular volume in a new building constructed specifically as minimally-finished residential units, available for customization by each unit owner. The space is distinguished by its nineteen-foot ceiling height, and affords direct daylight only by access to a terrace at one end and small windows high on the opposite wall, above a single-loaded access corridor.
The design plays to these features by inserting a large mezzanine above the entry door and arranging all other partitions to open the volume of the space towards the terrace, with its light and views. A double-height polished plaster wall cuts diagonally through the space, tilting back from bottom to top, to contain enclosed rooms and visually extend the main loft space. This tilted wall floats and shimmers slightly above a dark wood floor, and is detailed to stop short of the high ceiling. Behind the tilted wall are progressively smaller and more open spaces, starting with a large guest room, two ground-floor bathrooms and a partially screened kitchen. Above the kitchen, which features a 19-foot high wall of maple cabinetry, is the master bath, accessed by a small bridge, with a variety of clear and translucent openings blurring definitions of privacy within the loft setting. An etched-glass shower enclosure with a narrow clear slit affords controlled views to the loft below and the cityscape beyond.
To accomplish this, one long sidewall is fitted with a virtual ‘floating window’ of steel and translucent, back-lit acrylic. This translucent wall / window opens up to become an extensive home office at one end, conceals the dressing room on the other end, and is the primary light source for the entire loft, glowing with morning sunlight and evening built-in halogen light. Similarly, afternoon sunlight washes across the brushed aluminum panels and cabinetry of the main living space, reflecting softly into the central living / working spaces. Large concealed sliding doors allow the owners to reconfigure the spaces to accommodate constantly fluctuating needs for privacy. The two windowed ends of the loft are enhanced by a built-in bed at the eastern end and a built-in window chaise custom fit to the owners’ measurements at the western end.