Monday, August 06, 2012

Artist Residence and Studio

Artist Residence and Studio in New York City by Caliper Studio, 2010

In the late 1980s artist Roy Lichtenstein moved into a two-story warehouse that was converted to a residence and studio by 1100 Architect. Lichtenstein died in 1997, and the building, located across the street from Westbeth Artists Housing, is now occupied by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, a "private operating foundation [that] aspires to encourage a broader understanding of the art of Roy Lichtenstein and of the contemporary art and artists of his time." In 2007 the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein hired Caliper Studio for restoration and renovation work.

The most overt outcome of the process happens on the 6,000-sf (557-sm) roof, where "a quiet landscape of wall to wall sedum plants" now exists. The L-shaped roof is crowded in by buildings on three sides, but it does reach toward Washington Street on the west, in the direction of Westbeth (photo at right). People walking up and down the street can glance atop the one-story garage to get a glimpse of one of two large-scale Lichtenstein sculptures installed on the roof, in this case "Endless Drip."

"Brushstrokes" sits at a remove from the street, between a rebuilt penthouse office and new concrete shell skylights. A locust-wood deck snakes its way from the office to a rebuilt kitchen; the gray bricks of each volume stand out from the original building, marking these as new constructions. Further, Caliper Studio -- which is comprised of Caliper Architecture and Caliper Fabrication -- is responsible for much of the fabrication: skylights, canopy, trellis, planter, window frames and grates, railings. Their construction documentation is worth a look, particularly for the forming of the skylights.

Below the roof level, much of the work carried out was in keeping with the original conditions of Lichtenstein's studio and residence. According to the architects, "The quality of the space and its character have been maintained through original artifacts including the artist’s built-in wall easel system and paint splattered floor." This leaves the roof as the canvas, if you will, for the architects, who chose sedum as their primary medium, even as they crafted other pieces in wood, metal, and concrete. The roof landscape softens the space between the various buildings and gives Lichtenstsein's sculptures a contrasting background, something akin to a sculpture garden in the middle of the city.

Photographs are by Ty Cole, courtesy of Caliper Studio.

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