GREC Architects


GREC Architects creates projects that feel youthful: from the Conde Nast offices in theMART, which cultivates collaboration and energy using colorful palettes and diverse spaces, to the Ace Hotel, which has garnered attention for its slick, inviting public plazas that are both industrial and playful. Their most recent work, EMME (pronounced like the letter “M”) is a good vibe unto itself: vibrant plant life, unique textiles and recycled materials make for a contemporary multifamily residence.The firm calls its design process responsive: each material is selected in relation to the client’s desired atmosphere and ethos. At EMME, the final design is materialforward, making simple activities like lounging in the lobby more serene and connected to the outdoors.Knowing that residents’ building entry experience is a priority, the materials for EMME’s lobby were selected to reflect the entire property’s exceptional quality of design, creating a simple space. A large Hopes window system set into a plaster wall creates the harmonious relationship between the outdoor garden plaza (which features the historic Haymarket monument) and the lobby living room. These windows also allow natural light into the space, highlighting the dimensional stone floor (Pietra Cardoza from Tuscany) and Venetian plaster wall finish.Creating a sense of community for residents, the lobby loft overlooks the two-story lobby space, and glass is employed to unify the spaces. The leasing office is enclosed by frameless clear glass to provide acoustical privacy and to allow the space to be visually connected to the lobby. This further allows the building staff to enjoy copious natural light and the landscaped entry plaza.The loft “bridge” is meant to further connect the two levels. The clear glass guardrail is a visually minimal barrier, while the frosted glass walking surface conveys hints of people moving above the concierge desk.In collaboration with developer Gerding Edlen’s environmentally conscious ethos, GREC’s primary design driver for EMME incorporated a high level of sustainable initiatives to encourage a green lifestyle among residents. Several materials were selected to reflect this, such as:• Wood structural members salvaged from the existing building, which were demolished for the construction of EMME. These members are employed as end-grain flooring in the resident mail room and as treads of the stairs connecting the lobby and loft library.• A heavy timber column was salvaged and incorporated into the concierge desk fabricated by local artists at Icon Modern.• GREC collaborated with local fabricators and vendors on a number of materials, including ceramic tiles from Flux Studios in the Ravenswood neighborhood, and the concierge desk was fabricated by Icon Modern.

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