The Future

Not vacant: Aaron Ray-Crichton and David Button in Bushwick
photo: Brian Kennedy

Location Bushwick
Rent $1,450 (commercial)
Square feet 1,000 (loft in 1920s former knitting factory)
Occupants David Button (senior, Pratt, communications design; bouncer, Northsix; art handler, Klotz/Sirmon Gallery); Aaron Ray-Crichton (senior, Pratt; computer graphics artist); Katie Stirman (dancer)

Wait, I've been in this loft before. A man had just moved in. It looked like a big Kleenex box. [David] We don't know him.

Maybe it was another loft, the same building. [David] We built this 650-square-foot steel structure ourselves. Ninety percent is suspended from the ceiling. Nothing is supported by the floor, only about 5 percent. [Aaron] Sit down at our guest workstation. Here's a computer model I created before we started working on the space because we wanted to agree.

We're flying down the stairs, too fast, like in a dream, sliding over the tops of the steps. [David] Some fruit punch?

Computer is better than real life because the apartment is animated instead of just sitting there—the walls and floors move. [Aaron] Here's just some lizard guy I made. And photos from the construction. That's me standing on a beam in the air. [David] It's funny to look at that horrible time. [Aaron] We were living underneath tarps. But it was exciting, exciting. [David] Grueling and exciting. [Aaron] I've never done anything like this before. [David] There are great people in this building. You gotta see the roof.

I saw the roof the last time. [David] You've gotta see it now! It's different. Like about 15, 17 of us got an order of wood. We lifted it on top by crane. We started at 2:30 in the afternoon and finished at 3:30 a.m. [Aaron] There was a party the next day. [David] A professional wooden deck. I made a 46-by-26-inch grill out of a trash can.

What do you call this second level? [Aaron] The mezzanine. It sounds better. Join us on the mezzanine. We have four computers up here. [David] This network connects the entire building. [Aaron] We have a business DSL line. [David] Aaron is basically brokering out connections to seven apartments in the building.

Do you charge? [Aaron] It's barter. There's a massage therapist in the building. It's like a collaborative here. They used to call them communes.

Man and his plow. [Aaron] It's all about the sharing of tools. Tools are not getting used by their owners to 100 percent efficiency. I have a giant hammer drill. [David] Five or six friends in the building had to use it in the last few weeks. [Aaron] Everybody in the building can share my printer. See this blue thing glowing?

What is it? [Aaron] It just makes it look cool. It was only three bucks. [David] Let's see, this cost us—$500 worth of steel. Total $800 to $1,000. [Aaron] Welding takes up a lot of electricity. We had $400 electric bills for a while.

What about the robots? [David] Aaron is planning to fix the space so there will be sensors in each room. [Aaron] You can control color and the amount of light through the computer. [David] When somebody is in the bathroom, it will say "stop," and when they're out, it's "go." [Aaron] Like in planes, you have a little "vacant/not vacant." In this case, when you bolt the door, the light will go on.

Will the master control be in your laboratory upstairs? [Aaron] It will only be accessible on any of the computers that I allow. [We go in the hallway.] [David] Look, the vending machine dispenses Busch beer. The landlord let somebody fill it. Here's Joshua's place—recording studio. Over here is the architect who inspired our space. [We go inside.] He hooked up a garage door to the ceiling. When he punches in a code, a stairway comes down. The bed is suspended from cable straps from the ceiling, six feet above ground.

Does he know we're here? Sure. It's fine. [Aaron] Look, the kitty litter box disappears into a drawer.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >