Taking Back the City: studio d'ARC Live/Work


Photo Credit Edward Massery

There are so many missing teeth, so many vacant lots in so much of rust belt North America. We showed how Superkül took back a sketchy main street store in Toronto for their live/work space; Now Azure Magazine shows us how Gerard Damiani and Debbie Battistone of studio d'ARC are filling the gaps in Pittsburgh's South Side. They call it a prototype for inhabiting Pittsburgh today. It is their office, residence and garage for gorgeous old Volvos.


It is all built from local, inexpensive materials, mostly with the architects own hands. Raymond Ryan writes in Azure:

"Recollecting the city's industrial vernacular, the exterior palette of corrugated metal, steel plate, timber slats and glass is used in a contemporary, planar way. The weathered steel stoop projects out above the pavement. The mahogany slats screen meters for electricity and gas, and rise to form the balustrade of a roof terrace above. One section of the screen swings out as a shutter in front of a second-floor window. An almost seamless garage door protects one of Damiani's two classic 1967 Volvos: a white 122S and a green 123GT.


""We tried to use as many regional materials as possible," says Damiani. The yard can be accessed from one of the many narrow pedestrian lanes dating from Pittsburgh's era of industrial might a century ago. It also contains a block of limestone, used as a bench, salvaged from an abandoned local bridge. Less formal than the front, the rear facade is skinned in asphalt shingles, a humble material attended to with the architects' customary precision, and incised with a long, narrow horizontal window." ::studio d'ARC via ::Azure Magazine