Richmond-based architecture studio Birdseye has created an artist’s studio enriched by light-filled interior overlooking the the Champlain Valley of Vermont in the United States.
Called Annex, the 160-square-metre building was designed for stone sculptor Richard Erdman to display his works in fluid and flexible space.
The building, clad in corrugated corten steel panels, references to the farm’s existing metal-clad buildings that serve as stables, barns, and utility sheds.
Exterior – East Facade
The studio is built on the grounds of the artist’s residence, a 20-acre working horse farm. The building comprises an artist’s studio, office/library, mechanical room, covered porch, sculpture garden.
Exterior – View from Northeast – Closed Door
Birdseye was equally inspired by both the artist’s sculptural language and the agrarian context of the site, according to the studio, Annex provides a new working studio for creating and displaying work.
Exterior – Site Aerial from Southeast
The project parcel includes multiple agrarian metal structures that function as stables, hay storage, and equipment storage.
As the studio explained, the project site was established at the northwestern corner of the farmyard to serve as a bookend to the existing buildings and paddocks.
The studio designed the studio on a raised plinth above rolling pastures, providing distant views of the Adirondack Mountains across the valley.
Exterior – South Facade
The landscape design takes cues from the horse pastures. The plinth is captured by wooden guardrails that mimic the fencing of neighboring paddocks.
The ground cover is compacted stone that extends to an infinity edge at concrete walls to the south and west, and to a corten steel edge to the east and north.
Exterior – North Facade
The distinguished feature of the studio is its cantilevered shed clad in corrugated corten steel panels. Structural steel members are exposed under the roof overhang and inside the studio.
A hydraulic loading door with a flush threshold provides rolling access to the main studio space. Inside the door, a jib crane aids in the installation and removal of large-scale sculptures. Steel pedestals with casters allow the sculptures to be both easily moved and elegantly displayed.
Exterior – West Facade
The architects kept the interior spaces are minimal and open, while the team integrated a monumental steel shelving display into the space and window composition.
The interior wall and ceiling finishes are black to contrast with the marble sculptures. Custom large scale metal pivot doors open into the white plaster office space and library.
Exterior – View from Southwest
A large custom wood cabinet provides storage and maquette display, and a polished concrete floor adds to the durability, functionality, and overall minimalistic aesthetic.
The architects paid attention to the ecological sensitivity in the project. The building was envisioned as all-electric, forgoing any use of fossil fuels on site.
Exterior – View from Horse Paddock
Heating and cooling are provided by an electric heat pump system, and ventilation is provided by large doors and operable windows. Natural plaster and Swedish pine tar finishes contribute to healthy indoor air quality.
Abundant natural light is supplemented by LED fixtures that are purposeful to the sculptures. The permeable stone surface surrounding the building helps capture runoff and mitigate erosion through the site.
Exterior – Sculpture Garden
In addition to his Vermont studio, Richard Erdman also works in Carrara, Italy, where the marble is quarried and sculpted.
Over the past four decades, he has created a renowned body of work that can be found in museums and private collections across the globe. Annex provides a space to continue this celebrated work and deepen its legacy.
Exterior – Roof Overhang and Sculpture Detail
Interior – Jib Crane and Loading Door
Interior – Studio Looking South
Interior – Studio Looking North
Interior – Library – Looking from Studio
Interior – Library
Exterior – Southeast Corner in Evening
Ground floor plan
Birdseye is an architecture firm and building company located in a 19th century barn in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Richmond, Vermont.
The studio is creatively inspired by, and drawn to, their natural surroundings, which are marked by agrarian pursuits and provide context for their work.
Project Name: Annex
Completion Year: 2022
Building Area: 1,720 sf
Project Location: Williston, Vermont, USA
Program / Use / Building Function: Artist Studio
Top image in the article: Exterior – View from Northeast – Open Door.
All images © Michael Moran.
All drawings © Birdseye.
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