The project transformed an existing 1,760sf one-story concrete block, glass block and steel structure, which was the result of three phases of construction done by sculptor David Smith over twenty years, between 1941 and 1961.
It restored the original façade, disfigured by interventions during the 50 years since Smith’s death, while bringing the rough industrial character of the envelope to high environmental performance. Thermally broken triple-glazing steel windows, 6” of spray insulation and a new layer of veneer concrete block at the interior contribute to maximize efficiency of solar and geothermal systems.
New elements placed under a unified roof allow for contemporary live/work standards, establishing a narrative sequence across time and space, that introduces subtle contrasts through the material and figural qualities of hybrid artifacts: wood and steel-fabricated study platform reached by a cantilevered stair; suspended metal-clad meditation room; re-activated east-west passages in the historical concrete wall shared between the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ shop: exposed steel joists and salvaged barn wood beams; a full-height flush corner window, framed by cantilevered concrete blocks inside, with stainless steel shade canopy. These artifacts’ non-nostalgic relationship with the flow of artistic and personal histories renews the building’s loft-like spaces, by embracing their historical legacy.
An installation about this project has been displayed at the Exhibition “Erasmus Effect – Italian Architects Abroad” at the National Museum of 21st Century Arts, in Rome (Italy). See exhibition video and presentation links above about the installation.