Project: Contemporary Art Studio
Architecture and Interior Design: Graham Baba Architects
Team: Jim Graham, design principal/ Leann Crist, project architect / Francesco Borghesi, designer / Susan Tillack, designer / Bobby Olsen, architectural staff
Structural Engineering: Degenkolb Engineers
Lighting Design: Graham Baba Architects and Owner
Design-build mechanical engineering: Premier Mechanical
Design-build electrical engineering: Pinnacle Electric
General Contractor: Dovetail
Location: Seattle, Washington
Photo Credits: Benjamin Benschneider
Located in Belltown, a downtown Seattle neighborhood, this contemporary art studio is dedicated to the display of Lino Tagliapietra’s glass art. Tagliapietra’s work explores the limits of glass—its form, texture, and color. In response to the drama of his work, the space itself becomes an exercise in restraint, a quiet armature and environment in which art becomes the focal point.
Most recently serving as home to an auction company, the studio occupies a 1917, one-story, masonry and heavy-timber-framed warehouse building, which presents a quiet presence to its urban setting. The entry is defined by a large wood-and-steel door which incorporates a modest illuminated cut-steel sign announcing the venue. Inside, the entry opens onto a sloping interior ramp which parallels the studio itself, which is essentially one large, 6,100-square-foot space. The brick interior has been painted matte gray, while floors are made with a subtly bleached white oak. Overhead, a 16-foot-wide-by-45-foot-long light monitor floats above the center of the space. Translucent clerestory glazing brings daylight into the space. The underside of the monitor features a curved soffit that softly shapes the daylight that fills the space. The client refers to the light-filled space created by the monitor as the cube. The cube serves as an illuminated volume in which to hang large collections of glass pieces or to feature tall works. Indirect light sources inset into the monitor provides dramatic lighting in the evening.
Details within the space are kept to a minimum and serve as a quiet counterpoint to the art and the elemental materials inherent to the building. Support spaces, including a glass-fronted office and conference room, restrooms, kitchenette and storage, round out the functions on the main floor. Custom-designed Europly cabinetry and hot-rolled steel and Europly furniture fit out the spaces. The conference table is built from fir beams reclaimed from the building construction. Elemental steel display stands of various heights and steel wall and ceiling mounts support the art.
Exterior cladding (existing brick)
Roofing (TPO, Firestone)
Windows (existing aluminum storefront; new aluminum clad Marvin windows on east elevation; Aluminex aluminum storefront at the light monitor)
Glazing (interior ½” glass walls with recessed aluminum frames, glass door with track hardware by CR Laurence)
Skylights (satin Etchmatte, translucent)
Doors (custom exterior entry door fabricated by Dovetail GC; interior doors are painted wood; glass doors custom fabricated by Perkins Glass with CR Laurence hardware)
Interior finishes (Sherwin Williams paint; blackened steel; Weatherwood stains)
Flooring (wide plank engineered European White Oak flooring by The Garrison Collection)
Gallery furniture (Graham Baba custom-designed reception desk features a hot-rolled steel top on Europly and blackened tube steel frame);
Office furniture (Graham Baba custom-designed desks with hot-rolled steel tops on Europly and blackened tube steel frame)
Conference room furniture (Graham Baba custom-designed table with Douglas Fir top made from reclaimed beams from the building that were milled and refinished, with blackened tube steel base).