The Fogo Island Studios by Saunders Architecture in Newfoundland, Canada

published in: Architecture, Interiors By Polina Liarostathi, 27 November 2012

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TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

Fogo Island Studios are slowly becoming an urban myth. The imposing landscape of the North Atlantic heralds the setting for four exclusive studios, soon to be six, on the North coast of Newfoundland, Canada. With a population of 2,706, the economy of the island which was initially based on fishery rapidly changed along with the global economic background.

Therefore, in 2004, the Shorefast Foundation was established in order to revive the island and attract visitors who asides from their interest in various forms of art, are also looking to enjoy cultural and sustainable tourism. Later on, in combination with the idea behind creating a 29 room Fogo Inn (to be completed in 2012) as a meeting point for artists from all over the world, the Fogo Island Arts Corporation was established, so that the island’s local tradition would be preserved. The newly formed Corporation focused on taking the initial concept to the next level through providing visitors with not only a place to sleep but also a number of other amenities such as a library, spa & sauna, an art gallery, a small cinema and gourmet creations from one of Canada’s top chefs.

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

BRIDGE studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

The overall design of the project was assigned to the Newfoundland born architect Todd Saunders who with his genuine soft spot for tradition approached the project on a personal and familiar level. The result is that Saunders has managed to introduce new angles to the island’s natural environment with 'clean' geometric shapes offering astonishing views for all visitors to enjoy. Every single studio has its own unique design and is associated with one of the island’s local communities.

The first studio completed in 2010 named 'Long Studio' offers breath-taking views of the North Atlantic Ocean, including icebergs that originate from the glaciers of Greenland through its slightly elevated construction. The other three studios were built by the end of 2011; Tower Studio which is located in Shoal Bay, Bridge Studio which is situated in Deep Bay and Squish Studio near Titling. The Short Studio in Little Seldon and Fogo Studio in the village of Fogo are expected to be completed in the near future. All studios are named after their shape and form emphasising their strongest points and their thoroughly weather-resistant construction. Discover them through the pictures that follow..

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG STUDIO
Inside Area: 130.8 m2
Total Footprint: 211.2 m2

The largest of the studios in the collection, its’ exterior surfaces are comprised of pre-finished rough-sawn painted pine planks. The left zone of the studio features mechanical equipment, storage areas, water tank, compost toilet, shower, kitchenette, wood-burning stove and a ladder that leads to the elevated sleeping loft. Built on stilts in order to take advantage of the exceptional views, its abundant natural light makes this space an ideal workplace for artists and designers.

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

LONG studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH STUDIO
Inside Area: 27.9 m2
Total Footprint: 52.0 m2

With its dramatic entrance overlooking the sea, the Squish Studio’s compact, trapezium-shaped plan is enhanced by the extension of the east and west exterior walls. The triangulated south entry deck is sheltered by the construction itself. Equipped with a compost toilet, a small kitchenette, wood-burning stove and solar panels, the use of the endless white painted planks create a playful mood through the built-in cabinetry.

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

SQUISH studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

BRIDGE studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

BRIDGE STUDIO
Inside Area: 28.5 m2
Total Footprint: 48.8 m2

Located in Deep Bay, the smallest community on Fogo Island (150 people), the rectangular shaped Bridge Studio overlooks the calm waters of an inland pond. Ample wood framed window and solar panel take full advantage of the island’s limited sunshine where the large glass entry dominates the space creating a sense of transparency. Once again, decorative wooden planks are used on the studio’s ceiling, walls and floors.

BRIDGE studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

BRIDGE studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

BRIDGE studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

BRIDGE studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER STUDIO
Inside Area: 47.7 m2
Total Footprint: 31.4 m2

Located on a stretch of rocky coastline and equipped with a kitchenette, a compost toilet and fireplace, this windowless black tower is certainly eye catching with its’ angled entryway painted bright white contrasting with the building’s exterior of black vertical planks. Light is provided through the huge skylight on the upper level. Solar panels once again provide sustainability to this design concept.

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

TOWER studio, photo © Bent René Synnevåg

sources:

Saunders Architecture

  • friend
    Odysseas Sgouros | 2012-11-27 23:05:45

    ...strong poetic landscapes of inner feelings shaped in elegant residential typologies...pure architecture proving that "genius loci" is generated by real buildings... abstract lives in specific islands...Odysseas Sgouros_architect

  • friend
    Todd Bennett | 2012-11-29 17:57:26

    Great job Todd. Really beautiful designs.The photos are fantastic.

  • friend
    Thomas Katakis | 2013-01-09 16:59:45

    Are you supposed to walk around these residents bare footed or was it done for the shake of the photoshooting?I am just kidding...it's an amazing job...

  • friend
    Andrea Cooper | 2014-01-23 09:22:02

    Fantastic project!!! The architecture is brilliant, outstanding.Congratulations to those people who took the risk and backed you. Oh how I would love to do a residency in any one of those studios. The isolation would be such an amazing challenge. I am a sculpture and painter so hope to apply in the near future if they still offer these studios for artist residencies.Cheers Andrea Cooper

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