Imagining, Designing, and Building a Games Room

Architectural designer Gary McGaha recently constructed a model to study our design of the Lucile Palmaro Clubhouse Games Room for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. The recreational space will be shared by young people ranging from ages 6 to 16 and above, so it includes a variety of programming and features. The main design move is to replace original skylights from the 1970s, which have been covered and unused for decades due to heat gain.

Model cropped

The new design will reopen the space to the sky and provide an insulated sloped skylight over the entire Games Room. Studying the exposure and impact of the sun has been a central design task. The physical model in addition to a digital model assisted with sun studies and the effect of daylight.

Model closeup

The Games Room is a flexible space but shouldn’t be a free-for-all. Members of the club have programs, but also some flexibility for independent time. The Games Room is the center of the club, from which the program spaces open.

“The Club’s program spaces are varied so we wanted the Games Room to reflect that, with furniture and pool and foosball tables in designated areas,” Gary explained. “There are also lounge settings created with new homework/reading/gathering nooks.”

Rendering with tables

Gary in action

Gary photographing the model on our office building’s rooftop

In addition to providing additional program space and to rejuvenate the “central heart” of the Club, a major design goal is to make all ages feel comfortable and be at leisure. “It has a playful aspect and feel overall,” Gary said. To that effect, color is used in the nooks to differentiate and draw attention to different areas, as can be seen in the model.

“Seeing things in three dimensions makes it easier for people to engage with the space and envision themselves in it,” Gary added. “It lets you see how all the elements work together; it lets you see the light and shadows. Your imagination goes to work.” We look forward to sharing it with the kids at the Club!

Construction documents are in progress, and construction is planned to begin next year. For a full project description and more images, be sure to visit our website.

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Mother featured in Esquire

Mother Industries, the quirky yet stylish advertising agency, is a hub for all things creative. Esquire recently profiled Paul Malmstrom, the co-founder, in their recently completed Hell’s Kitchen office. Working with designer Steven Sclaroff, ESKW/A was the architect for the conversion of this former warehouse to fit the office’s needs: flexible spaces, better access to light, and unexpected nooks all harbor the firm’s creative spirit.

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As Esquire notes, the offices “could easily be confused for an art gallery, a museum, a furniture shop and perhaps even a construction site.” We’ll take that as a compliment. Windows from the street look into a casual gathering space leaving the passerby wondering exactly what goes on inside this “office”. The centrally located “kitchen” and the bleachers are all untraditional yet effective spaces for the ad-agency. At the client’s request, we kept the rough-hewn floors to preserve the tactility of the old structure, allowing the new furnishings to create an unexpected found object-type aesthetic – a principle that Mother is known for.

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The central Skylight and the open communication stair is the anchor for the space and projects the ethos of the office. As Malmstrom says, “We wanted to make the building feel open where you could see and hear each other clearly,” and the skylight achieves this. We truly appreciate the talent at Mother and appreciate their aesthetic and creative eye. We especially applaud their long-term goal to have miniature cows grazing on their roof deck. This city needs more cows.

Architect: ESKW/A; General Contractor: Vanguard Construction and Development Co., Inc.; Owner’s Rep: ProjectConsult.

Photos from Esquire.