Harlem Studio

Harlem Studio is a conversion of a two-bedroom, mid-century apartment in Upper Manhattan into a live/work studio space for two artists. A precise manipulation of the existing apartment’s “back-of-house” storage assets creates a shared studio space, a hallway gallery, a kitchen, and new connections between living and working areas. The key principle of the Studio was leaving as much of the apartment’s existing materials in place, working to improve or revise only those elements most in need of modernization. Demolition was limited to a single closet at the apartment entry, kitchen cabinets, and bathroom tiles. A surgical program of millwork and minimal new drywall elements negotiates the existing, bowed plaster walls and new engineered timber floor, using a limited, durable palette of plywood, homasote, and aluminum.

West facing windows provide strong sunset lighting, informing the choice of colors and materials. Throughout, the original unit’s  character is left intact, while the sculptural additions provide accents and color to all social spaces. Strong vertical elements emphasize work against the apartment’s low ceilings, and sliding doors keep narrow circulation spaces clear for moving paintings and equipment. At the kitchen’s south wall, an existing chase carrying gas, water, electricity, and the building intercom system blocked daylight, yet could not be moved. This “Big Wall” was sculpted around these obstacles, creating an opening adjacent to the intercom unit, and adding a slim cap to the Wall’s western edge, hiding the bulk of the chase behind a smooth curved surface. In the living room, the Long Bookshelf extends the south wall, anchoring spaces for both dining and relaxing with views of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge: in the studio space, the Homasote Wardrobe contains open racks for painting drawing, and equipment storage, as well as a full-size closet sheathed in homasote panels for pinning up work.

New York City, New York

Press: ArchDaily

Builder: Clear Concept Construction 

Photographs courtesy Joseph Joseph Studio

Drawing Agency LLC is a design and research practice based in New York City founded by Galen Pardee (Assoc. AIA), with projects in New York, California, and Colorado. Drawing Agency’s work has been published widely and exhibited in the United States and abroad, including the Chicago Architecture Biennal and the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Director Galen Pardee teaches at Columbia University GSAPP; he was the 2019-2021 LeFevre Emerging Practitioner Fellow at The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture, and has taught architecture and landscape architecture studios at Barnard University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Tennessee. Galen holds a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University GSAPP where he received the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, and a BA in Politics cum laude from Brandeis University.



Copyright Drawing Agency LLC, 2022