To get writing done, you’ll need a space of your own, away from the distractions of modern life. While a spare bedroom will do, it’s a writing pavilion you’re really after, and Brooklyn-based architecture studio Architensions is exactly the place to find the ultimate design.
Their writing pavilion focuses on the relationship between its users and nature in an urban setting.
Founding Principal Alessandro Orsini and Principal Nick Roseboro are the masterminds behind the Writing Pavilion, which has taken our breath away with its warm, cozy interior and striking features (such as that amazing skylight).
We spoke to both Alessandro and Nick to gain a better understanding of their design concept, a little history behind Architensions and what other cool projects the two are working on.
Tell us a little bit of history behind Architensions. And how long have you been in architecture and design?
AO: Architensions was founded as a vehicle of research for the built environment. We have started with competitions and then moved to research projects and commissions. I founded the studio while working at Steven Holl Architects where I was in charge of different projects from residential to museums. That experience was important and it allowed the studio to take inspiration from different disciplines: art, music, poetry etc. Architensions always had a special attention to a humanistic idea of urbanism. Our first work on that matter was the entry for the High Line Competition in New York, which received an honorable mention.
NR: The studio was formally incorporated in 2007, so fairly recently. I started to collaborate with the studio on design projects and prints, my background is design and music, and I liked the multi-disciplinary environment. I became one of the partners in 2014 while working on specific scale: retail and residential projects, and then started to be involved in large-scale architectural competitions.
We love the writing pavilion you designed. What was the brief presented to you? Was it for a professional writer?
AO: The writing pavilion is part of a larger residential project for a couple involved in the arts as well as professional writers. We have designed three pavilions: Sound/Vision, Smell/Taste, and Writing. It is a very special project that evolved over time. The original brief was for the renovation of the existing house, but then it became something else. The architecture invention was replaced with the narrative of the spaces. The experiential quality of the project was the most important element to develop, with a particular obsession for details and materials.
For example, the way one material transitions into another and how it defines the volumes. In particular the writing pavilion was designed as a garden accessory structure, in a way natural light and ventilation could have been optimised with the use of a skylight and an operable window. The minimally furnished interior finished in plywood aims to create a warm environment with soft acoustic features.
How much planning went into the design for the writing pavilion? What challenges did you face?
NR: As Alessandro explained, the pavilion took place as an evolving element of the narrative of the main project we were working on. Even if it’s a small-scale structure the drawings set took a good amount of time to make sure the details were going to be executed without any mistakes, not to compromise the geometry.
In fact, the most challenging part was definitely the geometry. We started studying the vernacular typology of garden sheds and proposed an evolution of their shape. It appears simple at first sight, but it is actually a complex geometry that progressively changes in section. So the balloon frame had to adapt to the sectional changes, which for such a small structure resulted in a very precise fabrication of the different part with small tolerance for mistakes.
What other projects are you working on right now you can tell us about?
AO: We have just published a book titled Forma Urbana on the relationship between architecture and urbanism through our work. That was a very intense project Nick and I have been working on for a while and we are very happy to see it now in our hands. We are about to complete an interesting space for a wine store in Manhattan, space for Australian brand Aesop, and a private house in Spain which also features an art gallery, a typology we particularly like since we have exercised multiple times on museums and art gallery projects.