O/K Apartment (New York, N.Y.)
Part of:
  • KOL/MAC (archive creator)

O/K Apartment (New York, N.Y.)



Level of archival description:
Extent and medium:
  • 4283 digital files (17.7 GB)
    36 drawings
    2 Hi-8 tapes
    1 Jaz drive (2 GB)
    1 Zip disk (96 MB)
    0.32 linear meters of textual material
Scope and content:
This project, 1994-2001, contains material related to the Ost/Kuttner Apartment, a built residential project in New York City.

Described by its clients as “Cleopatra’s submarine,” the O/K Apartment converts two adjacent units in a pre-World War II building in New York into a single but divisible space. The Apartment is organized into areas defined less by their programmatic identity—bathroom, bedroom, living room—than by a series of undulating landscapes made up of custom, function-bridging forms, which KOL/MAC developed by digitally compositing cross-sections of everyday domestic objects. To produce the pieces, the architects worked intensively with contractors in a process directly informed by computer-aided fabrication in a variety of fields including ship-building, bobsled design, and stage design.

The digital project records are largely in word processing formats, namely Microsoft Word for Mac and ClarisWorks, as well as images in TIF, JPEG, and Mac Pict image formats. There are also a large number of Microstation CAD drawings.

There are two major groupings within the digital material: First, there is a body of video and still images. These consist of screen captures of renderings and other digital models. There are also images and HTML for a related website, a photograph viewer showing pictures of a built, physical model of the apartment. Of note, there are two videos which document the early construction of the Apartment, as well as the construction of the shower/bed.

The second grouping consists of construction and design documentation. This consists of correspondence, invoices, and other word processing documents which show KOL/MAC’s work with the client, contractor, engineer, and other stakeholders. They also contain a large number of design files and images which document the evolving design of the Apartment. KOL/MAC versioned their working files at certain intervals, and each version represents a snapshot of the working files at a particular time. There is a substantial amount of duplication across these files.

There is also a physical component to the records, including three material samples from the apartment, as well as 28 floorplans for the bid set, 6 floorplans, and 2 blueprints. There is also .3 linear meters of textual records which document KOL/MAC’s work with the client, contractor, and sub-contractor during construction.
Reference number:


Physical characteristics and technical requirements:

Files were accessible using a range of software, browsers, and operating systems. The word processing files (Microsoft Word for Macintosh and ClarisWorks Word Processor) opened most consistently using LibreOffice in a Linux environment. The Mac PICT images will only open on a Mac computer, and similarly for the construction videos, the audio only will only play on a Mac. Out of the browsers tested, the O/K Apartment website has the best functionality in Chrome. A number of files were still inaccessible. This includes the AutoCAD plotter files, as well as a number of other files whose format is unclear.

This series is not arranged.

New York (City) New York United States

General note:
  • The textual records were minimally processed; they were rehoused from their five original black binders and described at the folder level. There remains a significant amount of fading fax paper; it did not undergo preservation photocopying because it reflects the minor details of construction documentation, which is out of scope for this fonds. Two blueprints were removed from the contractor’s documentation, flattened, and rehoused into a rigid folder due to preservation and accessibility concerns; one floorplan from the client’s documentation was treated in the same manner. During the rough sort for the digital materials, major directories and subdirectories of the O/K Apartment material were collocated. Like materials in related directories were grouped together. The original directories containing images and working files respectively were collocated; original arrangement within those directories was maintained. The Mac pict image files and Quark XPress files are available on demand as TIFs and PDFs respectively. The Quark XPress files have varying degrees of fidelity to the originals.

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