Led by architect and artist Shane Neufeld, L/AND/A (read: Light and Air Architecture) is a New York-based studio with a pared back, elemental approach to design. Established only last year, the practice’s primal aesthetic – centred around spatial clarity and airy, light-filled spaces, specificity and an interconnection with the outside world – has now taken shape in the refurbishment of a classic 1880s-era Brooklyn home.

Located in the middle of a brownstone block in Bedford, Stuyvesant, the existing row house was rundown and dilapidated, with most of the historic interior detailing either removed or destroyed. Its original layout had been segmented as multiple small apartments, diminishing the original grandeur of the three-storey building. For L/AND/A, this was an opportunity to propose a way forward for typical inner city townhouses – light, open, and connected, instead of dark, narrow, and divided.

The 251-square-metre house was totally reconfigured, beginning with a dramatic four by six-metre skylight over the stairwell. Positioned over the centre of the house, and anchored due North and South along the building’s length, light pours in and illuminates each level below, almost eliminating the need for artificial lights during the day.

Secondly, the traditional stacked stair was replaced with a switchback stair. This removed the narrow hallway between stairs, and opened out a pathway for daylight from above to reach down the 10-metre high atrium, and into adjacent rooms. To construct the wider stairwell, a large section of the existing structure had to be removed from the floor diaphragm. Three wide flange steel beams were inserted at each level, to reinforce the existing 140-year-old joints.

The home’s wide, open spaces are also amplified with American white oak flooring and wall panels throughout, bright white painted walls and brickwork, and deep cut windows beckoning in leafy trees and sunlight.

 

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[Images courtesy of L/AND/A. Photography by Kevin Kunstadt.]

 

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