John Bezold

‘HHF Architects in Upstate New York’, Mark Magazine, No. 17


During the last few months of the year, a lazy meandering drive through upstate New York will almost always prove spectacular. A feast of autumnal colors fills the lush countryside and soft hues of red, gold, and brown blend together effortlessly. Within this mix, steel-frame storage sheds dot the landscape; eye-sores from an architectural standpoint. Only recently have these unassuming sheds begun to assume new forms and inventive new uses, sometimes housing the unexpected within their thin steel-frame walls.

Recently, HHF Architects threw away the assembly instructions to one shed, instead opting to assemble the parts how they saw fit–into an art gallery for a prominent collector. Working from the ground up, HHF constructed the long narrow gallery on a gently sloping site, allowing the gallery to span three separate levels connected by three gently sloping ramps. Upon entry, guests are instantaneously transported from the colorful upstate countryside into a contrasting world of whites, grays, and blacks–highlighted by bursts of color from the artwork within. The gallery’s white walls and raw concrete doors recall the more traditional gallery space, while plush padded ceilings create a sense of warmth throughout.

A walk through the gallery is an explorative journey, as guests are encouraged to meander and explore the subtly tiered levels. The refreshing reassignment imposed on a traditional form gives new meaning to the old phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’, as architects continue to find new ways to recycle old ideas.