Artists’ Retreat Whidbey Island, WA home studio, Washington real estate design, New US property images, Architecture

Artists’ Retreat on Whidbey Island, WA

Contemporary Washington House and Studio design by Prentiss + Balance + Wickline, USA

Jun 19, 2018

Architects: Prentiss + Balance + Wickline

Location: Whidbey Island, WA, USA

Whidbey Artists’ Retreat

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

Photos by Steve Keating

Whidbey Artists’ Retreat in Washington

Nestled into a second growth cedar forest on a 10 acre Whidbey Island parcel, this project consists of two artist’s studios, a house and a garage. These buildings are carefully arrayed around the site’s high point, each focused outward toward a distinct view of the adjacent cedars, gullies and small meadow. The buildings are expressed as industrial objects within the landscape, eschewing the idea of ‘blending’ with the surroundings and, instead, striving for a harmonious composition of elements in the forest – an arrangement encouraged by the adventurous aesthetic of the artist clients.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

A neutral material palette of concrete, galvanized metal and polycarbonate is punctuated by moments of saturated color. The warm spectrum of colors was chosen with the clients on-site to compliment the cool palette of the surrounding woods and other exterior materials.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

Double sloped roofs cap simple rectangular volumes, creating dynamic forms that respond to topography and light. Clerestories of polycarbonate panels fill the volume left by the elevated roof edge, admitting diffused light and obscuring the landscape into an artistic abstraction. The double slope roof is applied uniformly to the primary spaces yet the orientation varies to enhance the program of the associated space.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

Concrete floors, white walls and warm wood tones provide a quiet and light filled interior, with art and furniture providing splashes of color. The entry is located at the intersection of two rectangular volumes, delineating the public and private spaces.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

The studios mix fine detailing with an industrial aesthetic, as LVLs and pipe railings trace the edges of the lofted office space and exposed TJI’s sit on crisp, white walls. Long gallery walls provide space to hang the work, while the double height space, polycarbonate clerestory and skylights create an expansive space filled with natural light.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

The clients, both artists, needed a retreat that provided both living and working spaces for each of them. These needed to somehow fit into a mostly thickly wooded 10-acre site.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

What were the key challenges?
The clients challenged us in the best ways — as artists, they encouraged a more adventurous and bolder approach than we typically would take, with great results.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

A particular challenge was tackling the site strategy – how we would place the program within the large parcel to take advantage of the forest without needlessly clearing it away.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

Unsurprisingly, choosing the final colors of each building proved to be a long process, with the clients equally as picky as we were. The palette of warm colors was an easy choice, contrasting against the cool tones of the forest; it was the exact shades that were much harder to select.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

Once it was determined that the high point of the site made the most sense for construction, the idea of breaking up the program elements and arraying them around this high point started to evolve. This solved the question of placement and arrangement.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

The color choice was finalized via experimentation. We brought color chips, painted samples onto wood, and visited the site many times with the clients to choose each color.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

Who are the clients and what’s interesting about them?
That the clients are both artists, working and successful in their own right, is an unusual situation that presented its own set of challenges and inspiration.

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

Artists’ Retreat, Whidbey Island, Washington – Building Information

Project size: 4161 ft2
Completion date: 2016
Building levels: 2

Artists Retreat on Whidbey Island

Photography: Steve Keating

Artists’ Retreat on Whidbey Island, WA images / information received 190618

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

Location: Whidbey Island, WA, United States of America

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