Leica Gallery / Format Architecture Office

Text description provided by the architects. The Meatpacking District in Manhattan has undergone a series of dramatic transformations in scale and use throughout its history. Small lots were consolidated over time into larger properties to support manufacturing and warehouse functions during the district’s industrial heyday. As the neighborhood transitioned into its current state of high-end retail and hospitality, this upscaling has continued.

Leica Gallery / Format Architecture Office - Interior Photography, Windows, Brick, Facade

A small gallery building on 13th street, designed for Leica Camera, is a rare exception to this upscaling trend in the neighborhood. At two stories in height, and with a street frontage of just under 20’, it is one of the smallest remaining buildings in the entire historic district. Our design of the new front facade celebrates the building’s smallness while simultaneously augmenting its voice on an otherwise large-scale block.

Leica Gallery / Format Architecture Office - Interior Photography
Leica Gallery / Format Architecture Office - Interior Photography, Table, Chair, Windows
Leica Gallery / Format Architecture Office - Image 21 of 25

A steel and glass storefront and entrance connect the building to its industrial past, while also opening up the street level for retail visibility and access to natural light. Set atop the storefront, a striking brick screen volume and banded frame evoke various decorative brickwork reliefs found throughout the district and provide a modern interpretation of these masonry textures and patterns. The screen also serves the dual function of creating dramatic light play inside the building during the day and a mottled projection of light and activity out to the street during the evening.

Leica Gallery / Format Architecture Office - Interior Photography
Leica Gallery / Format Architecture Office - Image 19 of 25

On the interior, the second-floor plate was cut back to create a large double-height mezzanine at the front of the space. A series of new skylights were also installed to provide dramatic natural light for the display of large-format prints and imagery throughout the first floor. At the second level, a new steel and glass storefront opens onto a finished terrace and exterior gallery space.

Leica Gallery / Format Architecture Office - Exterior Photography, Windows, Lighting

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