Mobile artists’ residence ‘The Observatory’ installed in first location on the South Downs
A mobile Artist Studio and Workshop, designed by four architecture graduates at FCBStudios, have been installed in their first location at the Winchester Science Centre on the South Downs. The structures sit on rotating bases that allow the artist and audience to frame the surrounding landscapes at changing viewpoints of their choice.
Providing space for artists in residence for up to two months at a time, The Study and The Workshop will move to three different locations in England’s South coast over the next two years.
Inspired by Sol Le Wit and St Jerome in His Study, The Observatory consists of two volumetric beacons which sit lightly within the landscape to house multidisciplinary artists in residence for up to two months at a time. The two structures, The Study and The Workshop, are responsive to the landscape in which they sit by rotating on steel framed mechanisms, allowing the structures to act as shifting framing devices to the landscape beyond. They also encourage the artist and audience to interact by blurring the boundaries between public and private domains.
The design aspires to articulate the collaborative process, between architecture and art, which epitomizes this competition’s ethos, with a highly crafted and distinctive proposal for The Observatory. The team took an aesthetic approach that is informed by the natural beauty of sustainable materials, the unique characteristics of the sites and the tripartite narrative between the resident artist, general public and wider landscape. With rigorous research, attention to detail and continued inter-disciplinary collaboration, the design team have realised a project of exceptional design quality that creates moments of meaningful engagement between everyone that has a chance to look upon, into or out of The Study and The Workshop.
The Observatory will spend six months in four varied and stunning locations: Winchester Science Centre (South Downs), Lymington Salt Marshes, South Dorset Ridgeway and the River Tamar (Devon and Cornwall). Twelve artists with a broad range of disciplines will be invited to occupy The Observatory for two months each throughout the programme.
The two structures were pre-fabricated off site and built within an 11 week construction programme. Both The Study and The Workshop were designed to sit on a 2 x 10 m flatbed truck which transports them from each location every six months. The bespoke, rotating stainless steel bases are integrated into the structural timber frame of both cabins, which are powered manually by a wheel. The cabins are now complete and located at the first site, by the Winchester Science Centre.
The design team is made up of four architectural assistants from FCBStudios (Charlotte Knight, Ross Galtress, Mina Gospavic and Lauren Shevills) in collaboration with Devon-based artist Edward Crumpton.
Locations Winchester, South Downs National Park, UK, Lymington Salt Marshes, Black Forest National Park, UK, Dorset Ridgeway, Dorset, UK, Tamar Valley, UK
Completion January 2015