Village People

written by:
photos by:
March 5, 2010
Originally published in Prefab Today

Amidst the pedestrian-friendly maze of leafy streets in New York City’s West Village, LOT-EK, a firm whose designs focus on the creative reuse of industrial materials, inserted a gut-renovated and intensely colorful new home—getting a facade embedded with truck beds past the heritage commission along the way.

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  • 
  Lawrence Weiner sits at his daylit desk. The bare walls are perfect for tacking 
up new projects, and the steel ductwork gives the space an industrious feel.
    Lawrence Weiner sits at his daylit desk. The bare walls are perfect for tacking up new projects, and the steel ductwork gives the space an industrious feel.
  • 
  Even with the reused truck bodies creating large windows in the facade, the house still cuts a trim figure on the street. The rooftop garden is hidden from the sidewalk.
    Even with the reused truck bodies creating large windows in the facade, the house still cuts a trim figure on the street. The rooftop garden is hidden from the sidewalk.
  • 
  Lawrence and Alice confer in the ground-floor kitchen. Traces of color are visible everywhere, including the orange-and-yellow curtains and pink coathooks.
    Lawrence and Alice confer in the ground-floor kitchen. Traces of color are visible everywhere, including the orange-and-yellow curtains and pink coathooks.
  • 
  The Weiners sit in one of the many large window bays, showing how the reused truck bodies look from within.
    The Weiners sit in one of the many large window bays, showing how the reused truck bodies look from within.
  • 
  The huge master bathroom includes a fully accessible walk-in shower.
    The huge master bathroom includes a fully accessible walk-in shower.
  • 
  The back garden includes fragments of stone from the earlier building.
    The back garden includes fragments of stone from the earlier building.
  • 
  A collection of objects from Lawrence’s desk include stencils, paint rags, glasses, and a notebook.
    A collection of objects from Lawrence’s desk include stencils, paint rags, glasses, and a notebook.
  • 
  Pieces from Lawrence’s voluminous archive act like unintentional architectural ornaments, bringing color and humanity to the often Spartan LOT-EK design.
    Pieces from Lawrence’s voluminous archive act like unintentional architectural ornaments, bringing color and humanity to the often Spartan LOT-EK design.
  • 
  The couple’s archival photographer Alyssa Gorelick sits in front of Lawrence’s sliding red storage units while Alice reviews some papers in the background.
    The couple’s archival photographer Alyssa Gorelick sits in front of Lawrence’s sliding red storage units while Alice reviews some papers in the background.
  • 
  Lawrence relaxes in the master bedroom with a hand-rolled cigarette. The room has a lavender ceiling (Alice was told it’s the best color to see when waking).
    Lawrence relaxes in the master bedroom with a hand-rolled cigarette. The room has a lavender ceiling (Alice was told it’s the best color to see when waking).
  • 
  The Weiners’ first stab at a decorative green roof went awry when workers installed the fabric membrane incorrectly; the plants didn’t thrive, and 
soil leached down the drain, causing a backup in the yard below. But with the help of an artist friend—–and avid gardener—–they successfully brought a piece of cultivated wildness, including hardy flora like creeping thyme, honeysuckle, hops, and kiwi, to their roof.
    The Weiners’ first stab at a decorative green roof went awry when workers installed the fabric membrane incorrectly; the plants didn’t thrive, and soil leached down the drain, causing a backup in the yard below. But with the help of an artist friend—–and avid gardener—–they successfully brought a piece of cultivated wildness, including hardy flora like creeping thyme, honeysuckle, hops, and kiwi, to their roof.
  • 
  A garden path in the backyard was paved with discarded marble windowsills and stone doorframes. This reuse of ruins adds texture to the landscape.
    A garden path in the backyard was paved with discarded marble windowsills and stone doorframes. This reuse of ruins adds texture to the landscape.
  • 
  The entire house is marked by dramatic changes in color: Though the walls are white, the floors and ceiling swap tones, and pink fluorescent lights give way to a lavender bedroom ceiling. The domestic spectrum culminates in the orange floor and curtains of the rooftop penthouse—–proving that even diamond-plate steel and ventilation ducts, given some Safecoat paint, can be made as colorful and warm as a kindergarten.
    The entire house is marked by dramatic changes in color: Though the walls are white, the floors and ceiling swap tones, and pink fluorescent lights give way to a lavender bedroom ceiling. The domestic spectrum culminates in the orange floor and curtains of the rooftop penthouse—–proving that even diamond-plate steel and ventilation ducts, given some Safecoat paint, can be made as colorful and warm as a kindergarten.
  • 
  The Weiners put Kalwall translucent panels to good use on the home’s back wall, bringing daylight in without the use of glass windows. Although Kalwall panels can look slightly institutional in cloudy light, the results are often golden, as here.
    The Weiners put Kalwall translucent panels to good use on the home’s back wall, bringing daylight in without the use of glass windows. Although Kalwall panels can look slightly institutional in cloudy light, the results are often golden, as here.
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