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There’s a lot to be said about creativity emerging from constraints. With Big Space, Little Space, restrictions informed the conversion of a 1920s garage in Buffalo, New York, into a poetic living space – and sizeable attached workshop – for a creative couple. Neighbourhood bylaws prevented changes to the exterior of the brick building, and a relatively modest budget (US$150,000) meant every gesture had to have a practical outcome. So, rather than carve the interior into specific uses, architect Georg Rafailidis kept the living spaces fluid, demarcating areas for sleeping that could just as easily be used for dining.

I can easily imagine living here.” – Michael Anastassiades

He also left vestiges of the original building, such as wooden joists on the ceiling, as contrasting features to clean white walls and floor-sweeping curtains that conceal basic built-ins. The odd hole, carved out of the ceiling, à la Gordon Matta-Clark, provides natural light; each is capped by an operable skylight.

2018 AZ Awards Winner: Architecture Residential Single Family (Tie) (Big Space Little Space)

The roof has also been utilized, adding another 162 square metres of outdoor space, accessed via an industrial metal staircase, during the warm months. As the firm notes: “Over time, most buildings stray from their original programs and develop lives of their own.” Big Space, Little Space does just that, but with the subtlest of interventions.

Project
Big Space, Little Space
Location
Buffalo, New York, USA
Firm
Davidson Rafailidis, Buffalo, New York, USA
Team
Georg Rafailidis with John Banaszak and Stephanie Davidson

Winner: Single-Family Houses
People’s Choice: Single-Family Houses
2018 AZ Awards Winner: Residential Architecture, Single Family: Big Space, Little Space

With Big Space, Little Space, Buffalo architecture firm Davidson Rafailidis repurposed a 1920s garage into a home filled with fluid spaces, surprising skylights and additional outdoor spaces. The live-work space is a 2018 AZ Awards Winner for Single Family Residential Architecture.

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