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New York, NY | 5,000 SF  

“The purity of their architectural forms implies restraint and respect for essential values.”

- Cristina Finucci, "Chiarezza e semplicita", Controspazio


This project was an adaptive reuse initiative for the Swiss Institute Contemporary Art, an independent non-profit cultural center created to promote artistic dialogue between Switzerland and the United States.


The Institute obtained space in the landmark 1893 New Era Building in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood that formerly housed a printing operation. APT's solutions for its conversion included a gallery and library designed as flexible spaces: the library near the entrance could double as a reception area, while the gallery could be transformed into a performance space.


New architectural elements were introduced while restoring the original vaulted ceiling and wood flooring including three-dimensional plaster walls painted white and built against the space’s existing dark brick, leaving a trace of the original materials. The vaulted ceiling, thick walls, wood floors, and proportion of the space contributed to excellent acoustics, particularly for percussion instruments.


The museum-quality light fixtures developed by Nulux were installed without interfering with the beauty of the vaulted ceiling. Uplights concealed along the thick plaster walls provided sidelights for performances.


Natural light streaming in from the library’s large windows floods the space during the day. In the evening, the space is illuminated by contemporary suspension fixtures.



Photographs by Gary Graves


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