The project consisted of the demolition of an older studio building - small and poorly constructed - and the creation of a new studio with an elevated reading loft.
One of our goals of the project was to open the studio to the rear yard, infusing the space with light and landscape. The flood of reflected green light from the lush vegetation spills into the studio and manifests the nature-inspired children's books that are created within.
The reading loft is a bit of a refuge, a passive space connected to, but somewhat separate from, the more active space of the studio. The cork flooring of the loft and spiral stair treads lends a delicate, warm atmosphere to the loft contrasting the radiant heated concrete floor of the studio.
One of the challenges of the project was to make a largely blank wall against the street and express the studio as distinct from the existing 1890's house. The old house's porch was greatly compromised by the old studio and the new design pulls the studio away from the house, letting both the new and old construction establish a dialogue of equals.
The new studio has three large, high clerestory windows which act like dormers, articulating the mass of the studio and echoing the form of the mansard roof of the old house. The new exterior siding delineates the new from the old, but subtly recognizes the dimension of the mansard shingles with the syncopated rhythm of the new siding.
The new connection to the old house was a peeling open of the existing plaster to reveal the massive stone exterior wall on the interior, re-emphasizing the transition between old and new, literally framing the new with the existing.
This studio is phase one of a multi-phase project that will include a new interior hall and kitchen/dining extension from the old house into the rear yard. The completion of the second phase will result in a more compact and intimately scaled courtyard space between the studio and the house, realizing a more complex relationship of live-work that is the day-to-day life of this creative couple.
This project entails a lot of the complexity of issues that we are increasingly attracted to in our work - preservation and new construction, live/work environments, interior/exterior relationships.
Designed by M. Gerwing Architects
Mark Gerwing, Project Architect
General Contractor: Cottonwood Custom Builders
Structural Engineering: Gebau, Inc.