Barn Studio

Barn Studio in Orient, New York by Studio a/b

Located on the North Fork of Long Island in Orient, New York, two structures sit in close proximity, a barn and a garage. Prematurely weathered by flooding, both buildings were renovated by New York's Studio a/b into a studio for the present owner. The subtle design preserves the rustic character of the existing buildings' exteriors, while opening the interiors to create simple, contemporary spaces.

Studio a/b's design comprises four subtle gestures: raising the existing structures two feet, adding a patio between the two buildings, partitioning the barn into two spaces, and creating a large opening to the patio from the newly created studio space in the barn. Each gesture works with the existing so neither old nor new takes precedence; the design attempts to create a seamless composition.

It is inside that the design's contemporary aspects are more apparent, allowing the exterior to match the existing aesthetic of the rest of the village. Here the barn studio exhibits the difference between old and new, vernacular and contemporary. The opening to the patio and the partition, constructed of translucent panels, contrast with the intact roof structure while also adding flexibility to the spaces.

At a time when architecture strives to take advantage of technology's offerings, it is refreshing, and reassuring, to see design that is content with appropriateness. Studio a/b's barn studio does not attempt to overwhelm the senses or act polemical, but admirably solves the problem of providing studio space in existing structures required to complement a historic village's surroundings.