WINDOWS INTO PEOPLE'S LIVES

I studied interior architecture because I believed living spaces can change people’s lives. After one of my first projects here in New York, I was convinced this is true.

On one of my first site visits in CTA, I visited a simple brick building in the Bronx. It all started as a simple, regular punch list on the installation of windows…making sure everything was working.

I soon began to notice that for the people living in this building, it wasn’t that simple. They had been living there for a long time and were experiencing their first change of windows. It was a big deal to them to go from freezing and melting temperatures in the New York ever-changing  weather to “comfort.”

That is how many of them described it. One of them even told me they weren’t using the largest of their bedrooms because it was too cold. That meant that we weren’t just giving them windows…we where giving them a new space…a new home.

“A building is not just a place to be but a way to be.”–Frank Lloyd Wright

Views of a Bronx apartment window replacement brought to you by Laura Blanco Moreno.

THE GHOST OF BISHOP FORD

Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School may have closed earlier this year, but the presence of Francis Xavier Ford, Sinophile and martyr of the Catholic Church, endures. His mosaic likeness welcomes the multitudes of designers and consultants who cross his doorstep. And if, in the saving of his sprawling edifice, we are ground underfoot and spat upon and worn out, we shall have become the Prospect Expressway (which, unlike the Kings Highway, is actually nearby) for every child in pathless Brooklyn.

View of mosaic at Bishop Ford Central High School brought to you by Adam Poole.

 

THE UNKNOWN

Working as architects in New York City allows us the unique opportunity to view the city from vantage points that very few people see. It never gets old stepping out onto the roof of a 20 story building in midtown and getting a 360˚ view of Manhattan. However, the most interesting (and sometimes creepy) experiences are when you enter a building, often times vacant, for the first time to survey or measure the existing conditions.  You never know what to expect or what you may find as you move through each room! More than once I have entered a room and jumped out of my skin because I was startled by a mannequin perched against the wall staring back at me! You never know what (or who) you’ll find!

VINTAGE MODEL CHARM IN AN UNEXPECTED LOCATION

Despite the surface unpleasantness, the dampness, the sootiness, and the occasional cockroach scurrying by, there is something intriguing about roaming amidst Willy Wonka-sized ductwork, candy-coated pipe spaghetti, and immense oil tanks that rival the size of some NYC apartments.

This candy apple beauty is one of a trio of boilers I had the pleasure to meet at a site visit to a school in the Bronx.  No longer manufactured under the “Federal” name, these stout old timers are solid steam punk contenders. Although I would have liked to linger a bit longer to appreciate the sheer massiveness of these oddly charming machines, I had to keep up with a busy custodian and time-strapped engineer trudging toward our task at hand: an oil tank room under a foot of water.

“We have so much time and so little to see! Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.”

View of a vintage Federal Corporation boiler brought to you by Laura Termini-Lande.