A Warm Reworking – Amity Street by Selma Akkari and Rawan Muqaddas
Within the walls of an existing heritage building, Amity Street’s richly layered form is opened up and breathed with new life. Selma Akkari and Rawan Muqaddas combine to rework and layer a considered, contemporary openness in the 1910s building.
Like many of the homes within Brooklyn and New York, there is a steeped history felt here that sets the foundation for any new works. The inherited space came with its own reminders of the previous owners and the marks each of them left during their time there. As a collaborative effort with the developer, Amity Street is reworked by Selma Akkari and Rawan Muqaddas to continue a history of warmth amid a more modern setting. Using the energy and animation of the surrounding area as inspiration, the result is a collection of distinct and curated pieces that come with their own personalities and add a richness to the home.
Located on the fourth floor of an existing apartment building originally designed and built in the early 1900s, the Cobble Hill home is opened to increase the sense of scale and internal volume through a future-focused lens. At the same time, embedding more meaningful connections to the natural elements was key to the approach. Encouraging more natural light and ventilation to move through the interior, flexibility in planning and functionality binds the spaces whilst promoting movement. In drawing on the existing legacy of the home, the contrasting elements were highlighted as key features, instead of being concealed. As a result, texture and warmth play a vital role in creating and reinforcing a cocooning effect.
As its own calming place, a restrained approach and heightened detailing throughout creates a clear and defined threshold between inside and out as well as between the public and private spaces. Generous in size, the corner arrangement sees the three-bedroom apartment have access to some 16 windows – a rarity in New York. By combining the soft arches of the existing curved openings and adding other softly tapered elements, the more linear features are emphasised. The bringing together of differing textures also becomes an expression of time and the many eras that have passed through the home whilst adding an element of curiosity.
By increasing the internal flow of Amity Street, Selma Akkari and Rawan Muqaddas ensure a fresh start to the next chapter of the home. Through optimising location, height and access to natural light, the balancing of gestures throughout allows for the existing charm to sit comfortably amid newer elements of the residence.