Art Studio and Residence
Programmatically, the project was to design a two-bedroom house, 3-car garage with attached guesthouse, and a painting studio for an artist, her husband and their teenage daughter. However, first and foremost, the project was and is about an extraordinary landscape. Sited along a line of trees to the east, the house and studio sit on a high ridge, with spectacular 20-mile views of rolling fields and mountains to the west and north, and shorter, but picturesque views into pasture to the south.
Approach to the site is via a long drive from the north. Well below the elevation of the house, this drive traverses a field, crosses a thick line of trees and ascends an adjacent meadow to the east. At the garage, one arrives in the first and more utilitarian of two gravel courtyards. From here one begins to sense the vastness and power of the landscape beyond. Moving through the trees to the second courtyard, flanked by the house on the south and studio on the north, the project is revealed as a protagonist in and activator of one of Connecticut’s most majestic and panoramic vistas.
Operating in similar fashion to the second court, the buildings also frame, reveal and activate the landscape in very particular and deliberate ways. Materials are mostly concrete block, concrete and cement board on the exterior of the buildings, and various woods (beech, mahogany and fir), concrete and steel inside. The buildings are strong, tough and deliberately restrained, a site-specific response that is always mindful and respectful of the powerful landscape.