Arch175 Studio Project One. Art gallery.


Our first studio assignment was to create a small San Diego art gallery and studio for a painter and sculptor. Our main emphasis on this project was to bring in natural light in a meaningful way…


Before beginning the preliminary design process I realized that I needed to create a simple, free flowing layout with ample wall space for paintings but still allow for light openings to naturally illuminate the structure.


I felt it was important for my design to utilize a transitioning space between the parking area and the gallery itself.  I wanted to do this through the use of glazing to allow a partial glimpse into the gallery and a partition wall that then blocks off the view back into the parking area. The wall also serves to shield the gallery from the direct and harsh eastern sun.


After I completed the first preliminary design, I built a physical model to bring into class for a desk-crit from my professor.


The jury told me hat although my forms and ideas put me off to a good start, the spaces are just too long and narrow, and that I should try working on my project in plan to free some space to stretch the design. (We were given square footage restrictions as well as restrictions based on property and setback lines.)

So, back to the drawing board-


I quickly developed another preliminary model, and got the approval from my instructors to continue with the design.


I left the model open aired to emphasize where the important changes to the design were made, the plan. The new design was pushed to the setback lines, and the sculpture garden was moved the side of the structure (rather than the rear) and extended all the way to the property line.

I continued designing the gallery in Archicad:


I proceeded to work my way through several pots of coffee and hours of trip-hop to come up with the final design.


I incorporated horizontal wood into much of my structure because of its characteristic of allowing visibility as well as breaking up sunlight.



Here you can see the sculptor and artist’s studio spaces in section. Artists prefer to utilize northern light, where as sculptors like the harsher southern light (it casts more shadows and emphasizes on form). For this reason I gave the artist high windows allowing light to flood the room with most emphasis based on bringing in northern light. The sculptors studio brings in southern light via floor to ceiling glass + horizontal wood. This area also includes a rolling door for receiving packages and moving large slabs of stone and material in and out of the building.


inside the sculptors studio

artgallery7The gallery^ has the tallest ceiling in the structure at 18’.  Light is brought in through the roof against the northern wall.


A view inside the gallery, looking towards the main entrance, and out towards the sculpture garden.

now comes time to throw on headphones, brew more coffee and build the design out of paper and foam core:





I’m happy to say the end result was very satisfying both to the jury and myself 🙂




^…a scale model of the site, which illustrates scaling in relation to the neighboring structures



The presentation was an overall success. However, the model was built overnight, and I didn’t have time to really make nice drawings and elevations to go along with my presentation.  But I felt my model illustrated my intent very well. Thanks for reading- I must now begin my research for my next studio project: a section model of Tadao Ando’s Church of Light.

-till next time,

Chean :3