I-PARK VISUAL ARTS STUDIOS
EAST HADDAM, CT

I-Park is a special place. An artist-in-residency program set on 400+ rolling acres in the bucolic Connecticut countryside. From May thru November artists of every stripe come for a month to live, work, and commune with colleagues – and all in a much cherished, serene and ‘distraction free’ environment. The place affects the work and the work most certainly affects the place, with the ephemeral art that populates the woods, fields, trails and pond creating a perpetual sense of discovery and delight.

These two Large Visual Arts Studios are the first structures realized as part of an overall conceptual master plan for the property – slated to include additional studios, a music/recording studio, workshop, residence hall and performing arts venue.

The studios are characterized by a ‘front porch’, plentiful wall space, and an expansive north-facing window wall that brings the outside in. The creative potential of seedling acorns provided inspiration for the materials palette, a dark protective shell and light, warm interiors. The forms are a simple variation on the vernacular pitched roof, first offset and then sliced – this simple gesture adds a dynamism and sculptural quality that unhinges them from the everyday. The interior space formed by the geometry has a plasticity that gyrates ever so slightly – prodding the creative process. Sited to respect existing site features and topography, the two studios respectfully interact like tentative dance partners, with the subtle tension of the shared space between them shaped by angled and escalating walls that frame and celebrate a bucolic vista of trees and hilltops.