Space of the Week: Watch What Happens

During the early 1880s, as America was in the throes of the industrial revolution, Joseph Fahys moved his watchcase company from New Jersey to Sag Harbor, where he set up shop in the center of the village. Photo: Courtesy of John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor

Here’s a photograph of the factory from a different vantage point at a later date. Bulova purchased the factory in 1936 and kept it going until 1975, when it closed for good. Until now, the remains of the building have been a ghostly, empty hulk, center stage in Sag Harbor, untouchable for years owing to contaminants that needed to be removed. Photo: Courtesy of John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor

Fast-forward to the present: Cape Advisors put a team together consisting of design architects John H. Beyer and Michael Wetstone of Beyer, Blinder, Belle, as well as executive architect Baldassano Architecture and interior designer S. R. Gambrel, to refashion the factory as condominiums, townhouses, and bungalows, which are slated to open in 2014. Quennell Rothschild & Partners have done the landscaping. Here’s a rendering of the main lobby of the loft building where Gambrel used the original chimney of the factory and opened it up on three sides. He filled the hearth with scraps and remnants found on the site during the renovation. Photo: Courtesy of Cape Advisors

“What is unique in the building is the abundance of natural light,” Wetstone says, “as the lofts have windows on both sides, and the wings of the factory building are very narrow.” There was no electricity when the factory opened in 1881, so massive windows were key. Here’s a rendering of one of Gambrel’s loft interiors. Original factory beams and bricks were used in the renovation. Photo: Courtesy of Cape Advisors

“This is not about reconstructing a specific vernacular like a sea captain’s house,” says Gambrel of his rendering here of the open kitchen/dining/living room of one of the townhouses. “So I had to think, what does it mean to live in a big open space with big beams and masonry walls? I tried to identify the muscular weight of the architecture and work within that vocabulary.” Photo: Courtesy of Cape Advisors

Here’s Gambrel’s interior of a townhouse living room with the dining room beyond. “When I would talk to people who said they wanted the factory to remain empty, I’d say, “But it is a big part of Sag Harbor. It is not a ruin. It was in a state of decay. Now it has come back to life.’ ” Photo: Courtesy of Cape Advisors

Back in its heyday, the factory allegedly had a social hall with game rooms where workers played cards and billiards. Here, a rendering of the interior courtyard of the loft building with pool. There will be a gym and an underground parking lot among the amenities provided. Photo: Courtesy of Cape Advisors

Carl Henry Nacht (left) West Side Highway and 38th Street. After dinner on June 22, 2006, Nacht, a doctor who often cycled to make house calls to his elderly patients, was hit by an NYPD tow truck crossing the Hudson River Park bikeway. Shamar Porter Linden Boulevard near Williams Avenue, East New York. On August 5, 2006, Porter’s Little League team won its playoff game. He was struck by a minivan after leaving the field.

Space of the Week: Watch What Happens