These Modern Artist Studios in the Connecticut Countryside Radiate Inspiration

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Two free-standing studios provide a distraction-free setting for an artist-in-residence program in the countryside of Connecticut.

New York City–based Fiedler Marciano Architecture has designed two artists studios for the I-Park Foundation, a highly respected international artists-in-residence program. The 1,000-square-foot structures are sited on a bucolic 450-acre property just outside the town of East Haddam, Connecticut, and provide guests with a tranquil, distraction-free setting.

Fiedler Marciano Architecture chose the location of the studios and the materials palette with both the artists and natural surroundings in mind.

Fiedler Marciano Architecture chose the location of the studios and the materials palette with both the artists and natural surroundings in mind.

The design—which is a contemporary take on the traditional New England vernacular of pitched roofs and wood siding—is driven by I-Park's aim to provide a serene work environment for visiting artists, while also giving them the chance to intermingle in the community of creative residents. 

The dark stained cedar exteriors and galvanized metal roofs house bright, warm interiors. 

The dark stained cedar exteriors and galvanized metal roofs house bright, warm interiors. 

In order to fully understand the property and community of I-Park from an artist's perspective, design partner Mark Fiedler conducted his own two-week residency at the facility. His time there led to the development of an overall master plan for the property, including the two new visual art studios, as well as future plans of a recording studio, workshop, residence hall, and performing arts venue. 

A look at the studios from above. 

A look at the studios from above. 

"It was a surprisingly intense and wonderfully fruitful way to get to know and appreciate the physical surroundings, and even more importantly the residency culture that makes I-Park such a special place for both artists and art," he explains.

 For the artists, the property and studios act as both a source of inspiration and a canvas, and anyone fortunate enough to wander the trails throughout the property is treated to natural and artistic delights.

 For the artists, the property and studios act as both a source of inspiration and a canvas, and anyone fortunate enough to wander the trails throughout the property is treated to natural and artistic delights.

Both structures are defined by a large north-facing wall of windows, which provide an optimum light source, as well as striking views of the hills in the distance. A "front porch" has also been incorporated into each studio to create flexible indoor/outdoor space. It also gives easy access to a network of pathways and trails through the surrounding woods.

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 These two large studios are the first structures developed as part of an overall conceptual master plan for the property. The team is looking to build additional studios, a music/recording studio, a workshop, a residence hall, and a performing arts venue in the future. 

 These two large studios are the first structures developed as part of an overall conceptual master plan for the property. The team is looking to build additional studios, a music/recording studio, a workshop, a residence hall, and a performing arts venue in the future. 

Inside the structure, wall space is prioritized with concealed plywood blocking to support hanging work.   

Inside the structure, wall space is prioritized with concealed plywood blocking to support hanging work.   

The minimalist interiors provide a distraction-free workspace for visiting artists. 

The minimalist interiors provide a distraction-free workspace for visiting artists. 

From May through November, artists can come to the studios to live, work, and commune with colleagues for a month at a time. 

 The public can also visit I-Park, meet the artists, and experience their art first-hand during regularly scheduled "Open Studio" days at the end of each monthly session.

Shaped by angled walls that frame the surrounding countryside, the two studios are sited to respect their existing site and interact with the shared space between them.  

Shaped by angled walls that frame the surrounding countryside, the two studios are sited to respect their existing site and interact with the shared space between them.  

To learn more about the I-Park Foundation, Inc., click here

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Fiedler Marciano Architecture

Builder/General Contractor: Block Design Build

Structural Engineer: Harold M. Shettles Structural Engineer LLC

Civil Engineer: Nemergut Consulting

Photography: Chris Cooper