Tuesday, May 19, 2009
A Design for Small Living from Tech Prof
Margarita McGrath, associate professor of architecture in the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design, and Scott Oliver, her partner in noroof architects, their New York-based architecture firm, have designed a space-saving interior for the Finger apartment, a family of four's 540-square-foot living space.
The Finger apartment occupies the top floor of a five-story walk-up in New York City. The existing plan is a dumb-bell configuration, with two 16 feet by 11 feet rooms bridged by a long, narrow space.
McGrath’s and Oliver’s challenge was to shift the kitchen and bath from the back room into the narrow middle zone, freeing up the light-filled perimeter for living spaces. This enables private and public zones in the apartment to cross, in order to create a knuckle. Two existing skylights and a sloping roof set up a strategy to activate the interior. Daylight floods the shower and kitchen (the knuckle), while perimeter light coves highlight the air-foil-like, bat-wing ceiling section. A shallow, floating deck under the bathing and sleeping areas sets off a private precinct within the apartment, and provides under-floor storage.
The design has received a New York American Institute of Architects (AIA) merit award and is featured on the cover and in an article in the June issue of Dwell magazine.