Faced with an incredibly tight budget, the need for a new dedicated office space, and minimal space to work with, Base Architecture created this tiny studio. Inspired by the limited funds to build it and the strong tradition in the Pacific Northwest of building with wood, the cedar-clad studio celebrates the beauty of simple materials, put together thoughtfully, interacting with sunlight.
The wood structure of the building - an interpretation of local conventional wood framing - remains on display. Shelving and desks are made of the same materials, unadorned, with all the marks of construction visible. The honesty of this approach was chosen as a deliberate means of keeping the realities, the mess, and the imperfections of construction present in the architect’s mind as he works on designing other projects.
The studio was built for less than $10,000 Canadian dollars – a budget chosen to roughly equal 1 year’s rent of a small office elsewhere, and so the studio would “pay itself off” in a year while providing a better workspace than the alternate.
The demands of the building are typical of an architecture practice: plenty of storage for records, sketches, drawings, models, and sample materials; a computer workstation; a lay-out area used for drawing and model making; pinup space for images; shelving for books and models; and space for design tools and general office supplies. Putting all this in a 60 square foot space was a challenge and resulted in one of the main design strategies of the building: the continuous ribbon of window around the top of the walls. This approach – basically creating an office box with the lid lifted off - freed up all the wall space necessary for day-to-day practicalities while still filling the space with light, maintaining peripheral views to the trees that surround the studio, and decreasing the perceived weight of the roof when viewed from outside. An east-facing window bathes the sketching and model-making area in natural light, intended to incentivize those creative analog tasks rather than staying trapped in digital work.
The studio’s portability facilitated its construction in a tight space, and will allow its eventual moving or sale, depending on how the owner’s situation changes in the future.