davidson rafailidis transforms an 1920s garage into a flexible workshop in NY

davidson rafailidis transforms an 1920s garage into a flexible workshop in NY

‘big space, little space’ is an adaptive re-use of a clay tile garage built in the 1920’s into a dwelling and workshop, tucked away in the middle of a residential block in buffalo, new york. awarded an azure magazine az award (toronto, canada), the work is the latest project by design duo davidson rafailidis, comprising a flexible workshop which transforms depending on the season.

over time buildings stray from their original programs and develop lives of their own. even in the timespan of a single year, spaces can offer to change qualities that require users to engage with them in different ways. big space, little space takes this transformative nature of space as its premise.



instead of designing fresh, new spaces and interventions, davidson and rafailidis reinterpret existing forms. the ‘little space’, the old garage, was turned into an overlap between two bigger, existing spaces — the fenced garden and the workshop.



the project offers spaces that are in flux, where inhabitation can retreat into the insulated ‘little space’ in winter and can spread into the ‘big spaces’ – the generous garden, workshop, and roof deck — in warmer seasons. the living area varies therefore between 43 sqm to 475 sqm.



‘the building is seen here as an animate thing with a lively past and an unknown future, where the intervention is just one of many,’ explains the team. ‘the space was not ‘remodeled’ to eliminate its messy past, but rather added to in a similar way to participants in the surrealist game, the exquisite corpse.’









designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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