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1930s Brooklyn carriage house gets an airy, modern makeover with shipping containers

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An old building is updated in a refreshing way

Danny Bright

Updating an old building into a modern residence is a daunting task, but one that New York-based architecture firm Lot-Ek is familiar with. The firm was tapped in 2014 by a New York gallerist and artist couple to design a family home in their 1930s Clinton Hill carriage house. Lot-Ek went to work, conceiving of a colorful setback rooftop addition made of shipping containers, an object that often figures into the firm’s work.

The bright orange addition is made of four stacked shipping containers. Parts of their corrugated metal walls were stripped away and replaced with glass to create windows.

Lot-Ek’s work also extended down into the house. “The space is organized through the insertion of a single vertical volume that—as a jellyfish, resting its bell or umbrella on the roof—crosses the entire house with its tentacles, extending from the roof to the ground,” the firm writes on its website.

The orange of the shipping containers carries down through the house, orienting its interior organization. Bisecting the house, the orange section holds the stairs, closets, mechanicals, and bathrooms, and creates two distinct sides, on the front and back of the house, for different purposes.

On the first floor, a mud room sits on the front side and a dining and living area occupies the rear. On the second floor, a master bedroom faces the street while a secondary bedroom is tucked in the rear. The penthouse addition not only created more interior space for the family, but also provides a deck and shaded roof.

The carriage house’s renovation first appeared in Dezeen.