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A Touch of Rome in Brooklyn Heights

Then again, “Mies lived in a very Beaux-Arts building,” Mr. Manfredi added, referring to the Modernist architect Mies van der Rohe.

Inside the clean-lined apartment, much more the couple’s style, hangs what Mr. Manfredi called “stuff we’ve collected over the years,” and several pieces have a distinct Italian flavor. (He grew up in Italy.)

On one living room wall hangs an artist’s proof of an untitled 2010 Tara Donovan print depicting swarms of tiny dots; two 2007 photographs of the grounds of a conference center that the architects designed on Long Island, one by Geoffrey James and the other by Thomas Roma; and a 19th-century topographic map of Rome and environs.


The architects with “KISS,” from a former Times Square adult movie theater; Luigi Rossini’s etching of the Capitoline Hill in Rome; and Lucio Pozzi’s “Parallel Puppet” (1981), a work on paper.

Harrison Hill/The New York Times

A grouping on the opposite wall includes a “KISS” sign from a former Times Square adult movie theater; Luigi Rossini’s 1823 drypoint etching of the Capitoline Hill in Rome; and Lucio Pozzi’s “Parallel Puppet” (1981), a work on paper.

Ms. Weiss, 59, and Mr. Manfredi, 64, talked about their art at the end of a workday. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Architects seem to like black and white — form wins out.

MICHAEL MANFREDI You can’t go wrong. The irony is, we always have some hot color in our projects.

MARION WEISS It’s a reduction. A curatorial narrowing down of what you can see.

Why blend old and new pieces?

MANFREDI We don’t want to live in a particular moment. We love Tara Donovan’s work, the way she takes simple things, like dots, and transforms them into something ethereal.

WEISS Super contemporary and super ancient, together. If you squint your eyes, her piece evokes the map in the grouping. Her topographic, cloudlike expression echoes it.

The Capitoline view of Rome is sort of odd — there’s a big triangle of unused civic space next to this grand staircase.

WEISS The shapes in this piece have been lingering in our mind — the wedges taking two different directions, and the triangulation of perspective. It inspired our Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle [2007], where the highway passes under the center of the park.

Do maps also dovetail with architecture?

WEISS One thing that characterizes our work, that differentiates us from a lot of contemporary architecture — which is often abstract and volumetric — is the idea of the journey. The Bridge project is so intriguing in this way. The building is designed to foster productive collaborations through both programmed and informal spaces that are interconnected by stairs and lounges with river-to-river views.

Your two photographs are landscapes but have a very different feel.

WEISS Geoffrey James had a benevolent, Olmsted view of the grounds, and Thomas Roma saw something different — he sees the menacing in the innocent. Same worlds, different eye.

Are you being punny by having a photograph by someone named Roma over a view of Roma?

WEISS Oh. We never thought of that, actually. That is so funny. But I like it, we’ll take it.

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