Blurring Boxes Residence

  • Connecting Interior & Exterior  
  • Brooklyn, New York 2013–2015
  • STATUS: Completed
  • PROGRAM: Residential
  • CLIENT: Withheld
  • DESIGN PRINCIPALS: Alessandro Orsini & Nick Roseboro
  • PROJECT ARCHITECT: Richard W. Off
  • TEAM:  Rigo Gonzalez, Giorgia Gerardi
  • LANDSCAPE: Architensions
  • LIGHTING DESIGN: Architensions
  • GENREAL CONTRACTOR: A-G Home Improvements
  • CONSULTANTS: Travis Creek Wood Products (Shou Sugi Ban), Urban Arborists (Trees & Schrubs)
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Cameron Blaylock
  • INTERIOR AREA: 163 m2 / 1754 sf
  • LANDSCAPE AREA: 100 m2 / 1076 sf

The evolution of living in our cities more and more tries to embrace nature, almost negating the urban character of neighborhoods. The design for a renovation and additions to a townhouse in Brooklyn is generated from the idea of fusing the interior space with the outdoor landscape through the creation of ground-up pavilions with specific experiential qualities.

Two main pavilions have been juxtaposed to the existing building— in a way to have an unobstructed view of the garden through the windows and also blurred views — obtained from the partial over imposing of a wooden screen to the addition facades. The exterior cladding is achieved layering vertical wooden slats of Shou Sugi Ban (or Yakisugi), an ancient Japanese exterior siding technique that preserves wood by charring. The two volumes are devoted to sound/vision and smelling/tasting activities and they complement the existing functions with natural light being the main component of the white bare interiors minimally furnished.

The experience is extended to the landscape outside where the original bluestones have been restored and reused as the material for the hardscape that leads the user to a third volume: a shed-like typology balloon frame construction. This third programmatic element is providing the function of isolation for meditative activities and it serves as a winter plants shelter for the garden.

The sectional shape of the three pavilions revolve around the presence of skylights with different configurations that capture the sun and the diffused light reflecting from the trees, making the interior changing with the seasons and further connecting with the exterior.