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Studio for a Composer

Project Name

Studio for a Composer

Project Status



Eric Edstrom


  • General Contractor: Vintage Custom Homes, LLC

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Project Description

From the AIA:

Described by the jury as “an extraordinarily lean and poetic piece of architecture,” this intimate retreat serves as a studio for a country western musician to write and record his work in a rural suburb of Milwaukee. While the building is contemporary in design with its exacting details and restrained use of materials, it continues the tradition of Midwestern pastoral architecture through clear function and craftsmanship. A concrete podium, carved into a hill to provide storage space, supports a simple rectangular volume for the studio area with an exterior of weathering steel. On each end, oversized glazed openings provide access to the studio as well as the grassy roof of the storage area and pleasant views of the wooded terrain. An extended steel exterior also creates a covered porch. The studio space rests on a narrow clerestory that gives the illusion of floating above its concrete base. During the day, the clerestory welcomes natural light into the storage space below and, at nightfall, emits a soft glow. The building materials include locally sourced concrete, steel, glass and wood – all chosen for their ability to age gracefully over time.

Jury Comment: “This is an extraordinarily lean and poetic piece of architecture that correctly matches the very lean elegance of musical composition. The program creates a space for a musician to compose. Its minimalistic response eliminates all the distractions and is contrasted by an abundance of nature. The building does what it was intended to do with the simplicity of a well-executed project.”

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