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Artist's Circa-1800s NYC Studio Gets Sleek Revamp from OMA

Chinese contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang's studio lies in a late-19th-century former schoolhouse on New York City's Lower East Side, and its exposed-brick structural elements and fluted iron columns pretty much constitute the Platonic ideal artist's studio for many. But the 131-year-old space needed, unsurprisingly, a bit of updating and Cai turned to the New York office of Pritzker Prize-winning Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas's OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture). The result is a sensitive renovation of the space that honors the existing building with a material palette that's all about lightness and translucency: partitions made of resin, off-white painted floors, and glass and light wood finishes reign supreme.