50 Small Environments
Small Environments
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Uni Architects, 15 Clifton Street,
Cambridge, Massachusetts
A translucent polycarbonate tunnel between
the renovated house and a new addition joins
the bright lighting and clean surfaces of the
two spaces with its pure, luminous form.  e
transition is kept as open as possible to draw
the fl ow of space and views to the garden at
the rear. At the same time, it creates a solid
separation between an outdoor sitting area
for the house and the entry area for the rear
Above The open plan of the upper and lower
levels of the house make the space feel more
expansive while the white fi nishes refl ect
light throughout. One side of the house is a
functional block, called the “performative
wall” by the architects, that concentrates the
utilities such as kitchen, bath, and stair. On
the opposing side, indirect light falls from a
skylight through the slotted opening in the
second fl oor. Although the skylight faces
south, the translucent surfaces temper the
direct sunlight, providing protected illumina-
tion of the gallery of drawings and prints on
the wall.
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52 Small Environments
Above A typical cross section illustrates the
way that the skylight is incorporated into the
building: On the exterior, corrugated PVC
maintains the texture and form of the Cor-
Ten steel, and on the interior, a polycarbon-
ate panel is set fl ush with the ceiling surface.
is provides an individual yet inexpensive
alternative to an off -the-shelf skylight prod-
uct. Not shown in the section is the opening
in the joists between the fi rst and second
oors, which is located directly below the
Above Right A closer view of the slot be-
tween the fi rst and second levels reveals the
wood slats that let light through but retain a
usable and stable fl oor surface. Visually, this
feature appears as a continuation of the fl oor
rather than a gap in it, since the slats register
as a change in texture.
corrugated metal, Cor-Ten
spacer 1” x 2” (25.4 x 50.8 mm)
roll ventilation mat
corrugated PVC
spacer 1” x 2” (25.4 x 50.8 mm)
polycarbonate panel
roll ventilation mat
cork fl oor 12” x 12” (304.8 x
304.8 mm)
subfl oor plywood
/4” (19 mm)
wood joists 2” x 10” (50.8 x
254 mm)
spacer 1” x 2” (25.4 mm x
50.8 mm)
/2” (12.7 mm)
corrugated metal, Cor-Ten
stainless-steel fastener
ventilation 2” (50.8 mm)
air barrier, Tyvek
exterior plywood
/2” (12.7 mm)
thermal ventilation
vapor barrier
spacer 1” x 2” (25.4 x 50.8 mm)
/2” (12.7 mm)
roll ventilation mat
existing brick wall
air fl ow
air fl ow
air fl ow air fl ow
Level 2
Level 1
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Above e second-fl oor space continues the
opposition of storage walls and light. From
the street, the building does not present visi-
ble fenestration other than a single traditional
sash window above the door.  is window on
the rear wall mirrors that on the façade but
punctuates a translucent polycarbonate wall.
e small window provides more ventilation
than light or views. Here, too, the all-white
interior increases the brightness and spa-
ciousness of the room.
Small Environments
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54 Small Environments
Elliott + Associates with Michael Hoff ner,
North, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Inspired by the movement of light through
the lens of a view camera, this renovation
explores the diff erent ways to capture the
Great Plains light throughout the day and
throughout the year; it also pays tribute to
the owners grandfather, the frontier photog-
rapher North Losey.  e illumination varies
dramatically according to direction, time, and
season to produce an atmosphere that fl ows
from the meditative to the otherworldly.
Light dissolves form, leaving only the fi gure
of the central square column, a former chim-
ney, with its stelalike slate surface.
Opposite Small details trace the historic
context:  roughout the apartment, recessed
spot fi xtures illuminate vintage photographs
on the wall, and a glazed reveal where the
column meets the fl oor gives a glimpse of the
garage below. Monochromatic furnishings
and surfaces off er an abstract, clean backdrop
for the luminous eff ects, while cool, crisp
sandblasted glass panels enclose individual
xtures and functions.
Small Environments
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