- Architects: 30X40 Design Workshop
- Location: Mt Desert Island, Maine, United States
- Lead Architect: Eric Reinholdt
- Area: 384.0 ft2
- Project Year: 2016
- Photographs: Trent Bell, Eric Reinholdt
From the architect. Designed as a standalone multi-functional structure, the studio outbuilding was conceived of as a stage set and a lens through which to view the local site’s changing seasons. Large and small apertures provide controlled views to the surrounding environment and the interior becomes a canvas for changing light patterns, sky conditions, snow, and wind. Part teaching tool – to help educate clients – and part learning lab, the studio is a place made for improvisation and experimentation.
The compact footprint and humble presence conceal a deeper connection to the outside world and a strategy for courting new clients. The studio serves as a stage set for teaching others about architecture via videos published on 30X40 Design Workshop’s YouTube channel. In this way, a small structure has the ability to impact a much larger world.
Acting as a stage for musical performances, a place for family and friends to gather and a life-sized working mock-up of the practice’s simple, agrarian-inspired design aesthetic, the studio illustrates to potential clients how modest, unassuming materials can be made to feel expensive. As a teaching tool, the studio illustrates how a few simple materials, plainly fastened together can be used to create modern, authentic and affordable architecture.
Natural light and multiplicity of use are the primary forces shaping the shell of the structure. The openings in each wall reinforce the lens concept, located to capture the variety present in the surrounding site. The small windows on the north and south walls open only to the tree canopy, while the easterly wall is almost entirely glazed and opens to the more public entry court and arrival space.
Slatted barn doors were added to control the light and as a nod to the classic English barn. They too serve many functions: a means for buffering wind, minimizing heat loss and are used to modulate the daylight reaching the interior. The doors were an experiment and collaboration with local boat-building resources to economically provide aluminum fabrication for building components.
To the west, slot windows were positioned at the vertical mid-point of the wall directing a standing viewer to the moss of the forest floor and a seated viewer to the trunks and foliage. This changing horizon line as one moves from standing to seated positions adds a visual richness to the simple structure. On the roof are two linear skylights of matching proportion to illuminate the central meeting and gathering space and offer a view to the ever-changing sky.
The furniture and lighting concept is equally flexible adapting to allow for a variety of arrangements depending on interior use. All furniture including the linear tables, skylights, siding, and windows are derived from the same proportions and can be combined or separated as needed.