Project DescriptionThis mixed-use building was designed for a printmaker who trained in traditional woodblock techniques in Japan while teaching art to children of deployed servicemen during the Vietnam War. She required a new printing studio to be housed in a preengineered metal building and commissioned a design for a structure to connect the new studio to an existing storage building and to provide a series of shifting yet essential support roles to the whole facility.
The structure employs the same simple agricultural building materials used in other utilitarian buildings on the small Austin ranch but recalibrates their scale and composition. The design deploys deliberate oppositions between weight and lightness, compacted spaces with expansive views, and natural textures against machined products.
On a typical day the space provides a kitchen, break area, and restroom for the artist and staff. For visitors it serves as an intimate meeting space by day and a guest house by night, sleeping four on a sofa bed and in a loft above. For special events it may act as gallery or play host to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The design is a mere 288 SF (12’x24’).
The reinforced concrete foundation walls are extruded three feet above the interior floor level to create a pedagogical opportunity. Cast into this base are impressions of the seven
individual blocks that are printed sequentially to create a single woodblock print. Visitors may circumambulate and begin to comprehend the process. The solitary imprint on the north wall is the artist’s Kanji seal.