2016 P/A Award Winner
With the Amant art space in New York City, SO–IL refines its signature approach into a curious cultural venue. The local firm’s technical- and material-driven innovation produces avant-garde form without any preening iconicity. The series of noncommercial art studios and exhibition galleries, located in a Brooklyn warehouse district, features exposed cast-in-place concrete in both its structure and envelope. The interior is nearly edgeless, with concrete planes punctuated by clerestory windows.
Outside, the monolithic structure wraps around a central terrace and is articulated to express the various programs of the four-level, 22,000-square-foot building. Four skylight-capped volumes stretch and morph skyward in a continuous transition from rectilinear to curvilinear. These contoured roof sections are composed of insulation and waterproofing liners sandwiched between two thin pours of cast concrete. Lighting, fire alarms, and sprinklers are integrated into these self-supporting shells.
SO–IL is currently experimenting with two methods for casting the roof and ceiling layers. For the most geometrically complex sections, CNC-milled polystyrene covered with a fitted membrane is the formwork for double-curved concrete shells. In simpler areas, plywood ribs support curved sheathing that forms the face of each concrete piece. The forms will be prefabricated, then delivered to the site for assembly and concrete pouring in multiple stages.
SO–IL calls the project an investigation of “soft-form,” and its treatment of concrete demonstrates the material’s elastic possibilities. The resulting design is the product of intensive material research, but also an experiment in aggregated sculpture: Concrete is manipulated to perform structurally but delicately. Amant’s final form is a seamless whole that distorts material expectations but also diffuses the building’s impact in its low-rise neighborhood with a quiet, dour material sensibility. —Zach Mortice
Architect: SO–IL, New York . Florian Idenburg, Intl. Assoc. AIA, Jing Liu, Ilias Papageorgiou (partners); Kevin Lamyuktseung, Ted Baab, Pietro Pagliaro (associates); Kerim Miskavi, Ian Ollivier, Lucie Rebeyrol, Yuko Sono, Assoc. AIA, Hannes Kalau vom Hofe, Max Hart Nibbrig, John Chow (team)
Architect of Record: Andrew Reyniak, AIA
Project Manager: Paratus Group
M/E Engineer: AltieriSeborWieber Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineer: Schlaich Bergermann Partner
Civil Engineer: P.W. Grosser Consulting
Geotechnical Engineer: Langan Engineering & Environmental Services
Lighting Designer: Renfro Design Group
Cladding: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Envelope Geometry: Certain Measures
Expediter: J. Callahan Consulting
Concrete: Reginald Hough Associates
Acoustics, Audiovisuals, and Security: Harvey Marshall Berling Associates
Vertical Transportation: IROS Elevator
Specifactions Writer: Construction Specifications
This post has been updated to include the full project credits.
FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
Located in a Brooklyn neighborhood, visually and spatially marked by its industrial past, a concrete mass houses the production, display, and storage of art. This arts building is an exploration in soft form, where a cluster of shells acts to diffuse an exterior presence and shape the building’s interior.
The self-supporting geometry of these shells exists in tension with programming, light, and circulation. The constant calibration of these constraints inform the contours of the building.
Apertures in the shells capture and carry natural light into a nearly edgeless interior, challenging the perception of a defined space. Across the building’s exterior, edges and seams slip in and out of appearance. Throughout the building’s suppleness and muted palette play with ambiguity and legibility; neither monumental nor prosaic, instead it entices.