CAN A BUILDING EVOKE LANDSCAPE LIKE A PAINTING CAN?
Built on a rural site overlooking the Connecticut River, this studio was commissioned by an artist who paints large-scale, imagined landscape paintings. We wondered whether the building could also evoke landscape, and express the resonance between the work being produced inside the studio, and the surrounding context.
We created a deep-set shadowed eave, invoking the horizon, which is omnipresent in the artist’s work. Above the eave is a matte, anodized aluminum roof that evenly reflects the sky. Below the eave are blackened cedar walls, developed through a process of intensive material research, mimicking the dark wooded trees that backdrop the building. The site is a flood zone, therefore the studio floor sits 30” above grade and extends to a wooden deck surrounding the structure, floating just above the tall native grasses.
At the interior, the artist works on several paintings at a time, in the round, incorporating similar tones into each series. The main studio space is therefore scaled in plan and volume to accommodate her method of working. She requires mostly opaque walls, however the studio offers calculated views to the outside without allowing direct sunlight to enter the space. These vertical openings frame a single view through the entire building, toward a lone grove of river birch trees. The main source of natural light, two large banks of skylights, frame the sky.