While economic times are looking bleak, students at the architecture department of the University of Oregon are collaborating on ways to spur art-based economic development with mobile live/work studios. Based in the climate and natural surroundings of Sisters, Oregon, which has a vibrant and unique artist community, the artist studios could function as economic catalysts for any community. The spring studio resulted in multiple solutions to encourage density and community enrichment on under-utilized commercial or industrial sites.
Projects range from small, fully mobile units on street-legal chassis to larger prefabricated structures delivered to and assembled on site. Common themes from the projects emerged, such as separation or integration of live and work, combinations of modules, interaction with the landscape, screening for privacy, and achieving various lighting effects for optimal artist work conditions.
The Successional mobile artist studio designed by Shane Gibbons responds to environmental cues and the surrounding landscape of Sisters, Oregon, to enhance the artist’s creativity through a visual and experiential connection with the surrounding natural areas. The design attempts to increase the artist’s awareness of his or her relationship with the ‘place’ of Sisters, which is characterized by mountainous terrain forested with charred Ponderosa Pine and Western Juniper, managed by controlled fires. The town itself has a vibrant artist community that produces much work relating to the natural features of Central Oregon.
The design of this compact studio includes a charred vertical wood screen that protects the live/work unit and slides out to create a screened outdoor workspace that relates out to the land. With the unit built on a chassis, it maximizes mobility by accommodating both ‘live’ and ‘work’ program elements in one mobile studio unit, able to travel on any Oregon State roadway with a common pickup truck.