Pitch Black

Brooklyn, New York, USA

  • Status
  • Area
    370 m² / 4,000 ft²
  • Category
    Residential, Mixed Use
  • Design Architect
    Adjaye Associates
  • Architect of Record
    David Hotson Architects
  • Client
    Lorna Simpson and Jim Casebere

Technical Info +

It is apparent by how you perceive the exterior and how that belies what goes on in the interior. There’s a compression and expansion of space. - David Adjaye

This four-story building in Brooklyn houses the studios and offices of the artists Lorna Simpson and Jim Casebere. The front and side façades are clad in black polypropylene panels, while the rear is almost entirely made of glass. The canted profile of the sidewall is a response to a nearby church and gabled rectory house, and speaks to the sectional organisation of the spaces it encloses. The design strategy had two main aspects: first, to separate the artists’ zones of thinking and creating from the outside world with a narrow light well; and second, to measure the verticality of the building by distinguishing each floor according to its position in the section.

Inside, each artist has their own studio and office; these spaces respond to the individual needs of their practices, with scale and proportions reflecting their choice of media. The ground-floor studio is a classically inspired, double-height atelier space, which accommodates large-scale models and supports the traditional notion of the artist’s act of creation. The cutout aperture of the mezzanine level office allows for the review, contemplation, and appraisal of the works from above. The second attic studio relates to the artist’s work with film and photography. The ground floor studio enjoys a view of the courtyard that includes the elevations of nearby buildings. The window of the upper gallery, however, is set back below the oversailing roof and, as if a cinematic view, directs the gaze at an oblique angle toward the ground. The ceiling of this space is punctuated by seven east-to-west skylights within the truncated pyramid of the roof.