Some notes in progress about the building we are living in after our rushed urban exit from Brooklyn on March 17th, 2020, during this “great pause” and time of social distancing.

I used to visit this place with my Dad when it was a book store years ago. Now we are living in the floors above that space waiting out the pandemic, together with my wife and daughter in Germantown’s “Halcyon” lodge, built by IOOF (Independent order of Odd Fellows) in 1870.

Here is a chance to study a building that has collected the passage of time, a place that feels in some way like a time capsule; I am also aware of how may layers of change and adaptation have occurred here. The space is deeply theatrical.

  • Each room has more than one door, some rooms have three or four doors. There is a circular flow because of this.
  • The windows on the sides of the building are set lower relative to the floor height than the windows on the front and back. This adds some complexity to corner rooms where you have both. I’m unsure why it would have been done; perhaps because it gives the interior the sense of being more dynamic without adding building cost or difficulty.
  • The transom windows above the doors on the ground floor make use of the height and massing
  • Small details about this building are unusual, there is an elegant economy in a handmade wire door handle. Usually, I think, this sort of thing would have been demoed years back without a second thought. What’s special is that this place exists at all.
  • Its barn-like economy and desire to create large, community space helped it become a very forward looking, adaptable building. A building that has learned well, exemplifying “loose fit, long life”.