This is the seventeenth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours!
The Center for Remembering and Sharing (CRS) first approached Masa Sono and Clouds Architecture Office about redesigning their studio after seeing the firm’s work at the St. Marks’s Bookstore, a 2015 AIANY Design Award winner and Archtober Building of the Day. CRS was impressed with the curved shelves of the bookstore and wanted a similar design for their space. The studio, known as the white room, was designed as a kind of multipurpose room for meditation, yoga, and relaxation. CRS wanted this space to be a room where their patrons could concentrate and almost lose themselves.
Sono and Clouds completely transformed the hard-edged room to a space with a smooth, curved wall. This posed a challenge to the design team since architecture is essentially defined by edges. In curving the walls, Sono wanted to create an ambiguous relationship between the person in the space and distance. The room itself is cone shaped, with the door forming the point and the curved walls emanating from there.
The curvature of the room makes the room feel larger, which becomes very apparent when one lies down, as the edges of the wall cannot be seen. Additionally, a one-inch gap between the wall and the floor acts as a horizon in the room. The floor itself is cork, which has the benefit of being soundproof and contrasts well with the stark white walls. The bench below the window doubles as storage space for the room. Clouds did not want a fixed light on the wall, so they put the lighting for the room around the windows. Since light bounces off the walls so well, only a small amount was needed to light the room.
CRS originally wanted the room to appear more textured, but they were pleasantly surprised with the minimalist design Clouds came up with. They also designed the rest of the floor, which included office space and a small waiting room. CRS was not the only body impressed with the design, as Clouds won a 2016 AIANY Interiors Design Award.
Join us tomorrow as head to the Museum of the City of New York!
About the author: Jacob Fredi is the Public Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center for Architecture. When he’s not on Building of the Day tours, you can find him playing board games (Munchkin!) and brewing his own beer.