What is it that makes a building ‘of it’s location’? And the better question to follow this is ‘how does this not become a cliché? It’s a balance walk between literality and subtlety (always with the risk that what you intended will be completely missed). I can’t put it quite down on the page. There is definitely something about the Tower Studio design that feels as if it belongs in the harsh Newfoundland bog in which it sites. The sharpness of the facets, the tone of the geometry and the posture of the building. It almost feels as if the building is expecting a fight.
And in many ways, there was a fight. Only it happened before hand. Great measures were taken to minimize the impact that the building of the studio would have on the fragile(ish) ecosystem. A long, teather-like boardwalk, only 12 inches wide, was constructed to provide easy passage of humans and wheelbarrows to the building site. This long strip weaves across the landscape from the distant road and other than the option of taking a hike, is the sole means of accessing the studio.
© Bent René Synnevåg
The roof plan is rotated a full 180 degrees from the base plan. This creates a faceted facade which leans both forward and backward. The almost brutal (in a good way) black body of the 32 foot tower gives way at the entrance to white painted spruce. This brings significance and weight to the act of entering as well as priming the occupant for the stark white interiors. These create sa blank backdrop which stands in fair opposition to the exterior. The two are brought together the one instance of a massive skylight, through which one can once again glimpse the outside.
The studio stands alone on on its strip of coast save for two vital companions. First is a stand-alone PV array, providing electricity to the otherwise powerless studio. The second is the ‘Saltbox’ house; a typical Newfoundland land-based house. This house is the mainland refuge for the artist-in-residence during times when they are not actively perusing their art.
By: Matt Davis
© Bent René Synnevåg