Press about aardvarchitecture

Back to School, Interior Design
New Change, New Home, Space Magazine
Terrace for Two, View From the Top...
Jigsaw Puzzle, Details for Living
Two Cities Linked By Design, New York Times
Swiss Mex, Dwell Magazine
My Bathroom, Myself, Dwell Magazine
In Focus, Interior Design
Pooling Their Resources, Architecture Magazine
Setti Architetti a New York, Archi Magazine
Back to School, Interior Design


Hit by the recession, Aardvarchitecture partners Christian Volkmann and Lynnette Widder hit the books. For Volkmann, that meant a promotion to full-time associate professor of architecture at the City College of New York. "I quickly realized that about a quarter of the students had worked in construction before studying architecture, and they all craved hands-on experience," he says. Hence his decision to apply to the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, a biannual competition that challenges college teams to design prototypes for houses powered by the sun, then build them on the National Mall in Washington. Accepted as one of 20 contenders, his Team New York comprised 60 undergraduates from the Spitzer School of Architecture and the Grove School of Engineering.

Aided by Widder, an associate professor of architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Team New York devised the Solar Roofpod, a penthouse-type structure ideal for the flat tops of city mid-rises. A steel-framed dunnage system acted as a foundation while extending on all sides as a deck landscaped with plants irrigated by storm runoff. The single-story pod's steel frame accepted a variety of wall panels in poplar plywood and/or glass. Inside, a square core integrated a kitchen, an entertainment system for the living area, a Murphy bed, a bathroom, and storage. Appliances, electronics, and HVAC were entirely powered by the roof's photovoltaic panels in conjunction with an innovative system of thermal storage. Over the course of a year, instead of the competition's two weeks, Solar Roofpod could save $2,500-plus in utilities and keep 8,800 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

View article on Interior Design, View slideshow; Images above by Albert Vecerka/Esto.

New Change, New Home, Space Magazine

View full .pdf

Terrace for Two,
View From the Top: 50 Great Apartments

View book / View full .pdf

Janelle McCulloh. Images Publishing Group Pty. Ltd., 2008. p. 164-169.

Two Cities Linked By Design, New York Times article / Print version

Robin Pogrebin. "Two Cities Linked by Design" New York Times 15 November 2007: Fine Arts 1, 10.

Swiss Mex, Dwell Magazine

View full .pdf

Amber, Bravo. "Swiss-Mex." Dwell June 2005. p. 96

My Bathroom, Myself

Deborah Bishop. "My bathroom, myself." Dwell February 2002. p. 40 - 47

IN FOCUS: For a photographer-collector couple, Aardvarchitecture concentrates on a New York loft's inherent grandeur
Edie Cohen, Interior Design

"Architect Lynnette Widder describes the design direction for the 3,000-square-foot New York penthouse with one concise phrase: "architectural archaeology." She and Christian Volkmann, partners in the humorously named Aardvarchitecture, worked with their clients, photographer Gail LeBoff and collector Michael Bradley, to uncover a spatial dignity that had been obscured by previous renovations.

LeBoff is a photographer whose art reflects craft-intensive endeavors and stunning imagery. Pieces with varying degrees of abstraction are large scale, up to 46 inches square or more than 5 feet long in rectangular formats. Recalling Man Ray's solarized prints, the images also incorporate special color tones, digital technology, and her own printing manipulation.

Having lived in the loft for 21 years, the last 10 of them married, she finally decided to renovate. Motivation was twofold. One factor was the need to store her husband's outstanding collection of CDs and vinyl records. The final push came as a result of extensive flood damage.

Clients and architects, who met through referral, cited chemistry as the deal maker. LeBoff was intrigued by the professionals' shared domestic status and international background. (Widder is from New York, Volkmann from Hildesheim, Germany.) Rapport was heightened by mutual agreement to let the design develop at a leisurely pace. "It became like an art project for me," says LeBoff, who has exhibited worldwide and currently sells through Ralph Pucci International in New York and Pilar Graves Fine Art in Los Angeles.

Irregularly configured with a back portion half as wide as the front, the loft encompasses two thirds of the 12th floor of one of SoHo's few high-rises. Not one of the area's coveted cast-iron structures, the concrete building is nevertheless distinguished by ornamental medallions and arched windows on three elevations of the couple's penthouse. Previous interventions had unfortunately rendered the interior a poster child for '80s clich├ęs. Aardvarchitecture removed the water-damaged dropped ceiling, a curved glass-block wall, plastic-laminate cabinetry, and a surfeit of platforms and other dividers, leaving the living-dining-kitchen area's 60-foot length and window walls clear and uninterrupted. Widder and Volkmann then proceeded to position necessary dividers in a way that "would always let the perimeter read through," Widder explains. ..."

Continue reading on Interior Design