Often referred to by one of its clients as “Cleopatra’s submarine,” the Ost/Kuttner loft converts two adjacent apartments in a pre–World War II building in New York City into a single but divisible space used as a pied-à-terre and guest house. Sulan Kolatan and William Mac Donald of KOL/MAC extended this hybrid character into the design of the renovation, drawing an analogy between the apartment layout and a city where various zones or sites can be activated and linked together.

The loft is organized into areas defined less by their programmatic identities—bathroom, bedroom, living space—than by a series of undulating landscapes made up of custom, function-bridging forms, which Kolatan and Mac Donald developed by digitally compositing cross-sections of everyday domestic objects. These profiles were blended and allowed to propagate according to topological affinities, regardless of scale, generating what Kolotan and Mac Donald call a “co-citation” map of the apartment’s hybrid parts. To produce the pieces, the architects worked intensively with contractors in a process directly informed by computer-aided fabrication in fields such as transportation (boats), sports (bobsleds), and entertainment (stage sets).

Completed at a moment when digitally driven design was just beginning to take root outside experimental environments like Columbia University’s school of architecture, the O/K Apartment was a testament to these forms’ “buildability.” Beyond acting as proof of the possibilities of direct-to-manufacture 3D modelling, however, the project also proposes a distinct aesthetic character native to and exported from a digital environment in which the virtual and the real ”become increasingly indistinguishable.

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site. Read our privacy policy to learn more. Accept

Join Our Mailing List