Located within the dense, historic district of Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward, this project calls for the conversion of a haberdashery into an artist’s studio and living space. Given the linear, impacted footprint of this infill site, the challenge of bringing light and view deep into the cross-section of the building is an essential driver for the project. Balancing the client’s program of work/life with the given constraints of the structure, a set of strategic additions and deletions in the existing horizontal and vertical structural planes optimize natural daylight and specific view corridors to the urban landscape.
The project incorporates a series of roof penetrations which serve to capture north light, and to sculpt the finish surfaces of the interior. Additional penetrations are placed along the party wall, and an opening in the back masonry wall connects the living space to a roof garden and framed views of the city beyond. Internally, rooms are arranged to capitalize on the new-found daylight, including a prismatic volume of glass which defines the bedroom as a vitrine within the plan, borrowing light from adjacent spaces and allowing the existing punched openings along an alley to remain intact. The vessels carrying daylight are balanced by folds and incisions in the interior finish surfaces, creating pockets for artificial lighting and heightened visual and sculptural effects.
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