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Dining area “grows” from California artist studio by Mork-Ulnes

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Mork-Ulnes Architects has completed a barn-inspired artist studio in northern California, which includes a white volume that looks like it is growing out of a reclaimed timber-clad building.

Situated on a farm in Sonoma County – a scenic region known for its wineries – the project was completed in two phases over the course of six years. It is located in the town of Sebastopol, about an hour north of San Francisco, and was built for a creative couple with Norwegian roots.

Artist Studio by Mork Ulnes Architects

The main structure is a 2,500-square-foot (232-square-metre) building that houses an artist studio, a storage area and an office. Called the Artist Studio and Workshop, the phase-one project was constructed for just over $ 140 per square foot (£106).

The building’s form and materials recall a dilapidated barn that once stood on the site but had to be demolished.

Artist Studio by Mork Ulnes Architects

“Using the barn typology had an instant appeal,” said Mork-Ulnes, which has offices in San Francisco and Oslo. “The main challenge became to create an ideal art studio within the barn vernacular.”

sushi donuts

Clad in salvaged barnwood, the new structure has the same footprint as the razed barn. It features a butterfly roof made of weathering steel and supported by wooden beams.

Artist Studio by Mork Ulnes Architects

By inverting the traditional gable roof, the architect was able to create a distinctive building that references its pastoral context.

The structural system consists of a wooden frame combined with steel moment frames, which “allow for the large utilitarian openings and spans required to manoeuvre tractors and artwork in and out of the building”.

Artist Studio by Mork Ulnes Architects

Inside, operable windows usher in natural light and facilitate cross ventilation, while also providing outward views of the property.

Interior walls are sheathed in plywood, a material choice that was influenced by budgetary constraints.

Artist Studio by Mork Ulnes Architects

For phase two, the architect created a 718-square-foot (67-square-metre) addition for cooking and eating that “grows out from the studio,” earning it the nickname Amoeba.

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