Zarro Design Workshop Architects

Restoration, Renovation, Rehab

The Eide’s Loft – Residential Rehab of Industrial Loft

1121 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA - 2005

The four-thousand square foot industrial loft has windows on two ends – north and south. The ceiling height is low at 9’-0” with underside of concrete beams at 8’-0”. The concrete beam and column grid dominates the layout. At the very center a partial skylight brought some light to the atrium.

Converting the space into a residential loft posed two major design challenges. One design challenge was to maintain and enhance loft spatial qualities: extended views, openness/continuity while creating distinct functions in a space with low ceiling height and dominant structural grid.

Given the temperature differential between the two ends, the other design challenge was to provide an HVAC system that would be both energy efficient and would not further lower the ceiling height of the space with large ductwork.

The design concept maintains a clear distinction between new and existing. Working closely with contractors, no new walls or MEP systems cross or visibly engage the existing beams and columns. Restoration and pure white treatment of the existing shell contrast the blue shade finish of the new construction and contribute to the distinction.

The extended skylight enhances the centrality of the atrium and suggests a natural division between private/public functions. “Reflections” of the structural grid to the floor defines functional zones without walls and transition floor finish materials.

Two separate HVAC systems originate over kitchen area to more efficiently temper north/south zones as called for by separate thermostats while maintaining small duct size. A dropped soffit along the east wall accommodates the main MEP systems and up/down lighting. Two ‘beams’ extend the MEP systems to the center of the space, connect to the west wall distribution wall chases, and further frame and accentuate the atrium centrality. The dropped soffit over the kitchen encloses HVAC supply/return roof penetrations and defines the kitchen area.

The second bath and entry closet ‘blocks’ partially define spaces and serve as up-light ‘fixtures’ to enhance ceiling height.