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Architecture Monday

February 16, 2015
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Robin Baker Studio

I really know well the building above, for I helped design and build it during the summer of 1995.

The project was a studio for a local artist (along with a second building, a honey collection hut, seen in the background above), done as part of one of my university class/studios. The clients were quite kind, giving us pretty free reign to come up with a design to fit their programmatic needs. And here, in humble form, is where we got to demonstrate a lot of design goodness that makes for something more than one might expect.

 

  • We used a lot of found and donated objects and materials; a series of boat trusses became the “belly wall” – a curved prominence that today holds artwork and supplies.

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  • These boat trusses also became supports for future lighting along the hearth, itself intended to be a thermal mass with a wood stove.
  • To provide lateral support the front wall of the studio was a double wall, with the inner wall angling inward from the outer wall to become the “wedge wall” – this thickness was carved away at one end to form a seating area/bench, and small windows below gradually showed the thickening wall as well as providing an interesting play of coloured light.

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  • The donated windows were arranged to catch light, both direct (for the service areas of the structure as well as to warm the trombe hearth) and indirect/clerestory (for the studio portion itself).
  • A piece of old boat wood was carved to make a special and rich bottom step for the staircase leading to the mezzanine.
  • Reclaimed barn wood that had a beautiful patina was discovered to be solid white oak, which formed structural columns within.

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  • A honkin big sliding door, donated, was festooned with a junked “comb” from farming equipment making for a rather dangerous looking door (but really quite harmless!)

Little measures that made a big impact, elevating the space into something excellent to be in. I haven’t been back there in years, though I know it’s still holding up – it’s on Google:

summer studio street view 2014

I trust the artist is still tooling away in the studio, making great art.

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