I found this over on Treehugger. Berkeley-based architect/owners Karl Wanaselja and Cate Leger’s have created an inexpensive backyard home office for their architecture studio. Below is a great interview with Wanaselja explaining exactly how they did it. The cost? The shipping container was $1800.
We first worked with Aeolab when Broodwork presented a short film of theirs at the Trajector Art Fair in conjunction with Art Brussels last April. We also love the OUIP! and Sony ODO - both designed with children in mind, plus their many other technology-based solutions for modern problems. Aeolab is a partnership between husband and wife Nikita Pashenkov and Elise Co. Their consultancy integrates technology and design to work on many types of projects from hardware and software to graphics and research. Their multi-pronged approach, in which they tackle a wide variety of problems and work with different groups depending on the scope of the project, is reflective of what we see in similar partnerships that cross boundaries to visualize new ways of working. Here they reflect on their ideal live/work studio, which needs to include both their son Felix and space for inspiration.
Some notes for the fairy-godmother who is planning to conjure up our dream studio* for us. We like a clean, minimal and zen space with lots of natural light but we are pack rats who like to leave things out (e.g. we don’t put things away), and we have many things in progress in parallel which need space for the following:
- A place for our son Felix (2.5 years old) to start apprenticeship via crayon and cars
- Place for innumerable gadgets, pieces of gadgets, materials and objects
- A past-projects archive and storage for lots of books
- 4 permanently-allocated computers, with another 3 in various rotation with no glare on computer screens
- Space for 1 etching press, 1 small cnc mill, 2 sewing machines, dedicated space for thousands of tiny electronic components and, lastly, a dedicated space to use a blowtorch.
*Please fit this into 450 square feet.
Some places that inspire us:
Above: Brancusi’s studio, tool area. A dedicated place for every tool. If only cables could make such a composition.
Above: Eames House. Our current fabrication lair has a buckled floor, sloped roof, and crooked walls, so rectilinearity is a dream.
Above: Brodsky and Utkin Turtle House etching. An encapsulated jumble of assorted spaces, with the bonus of being portable.
Above: STORA+NYGATAN: Eclectic, tidy, and we have a lot of paper prototypes to turn into lamps.
Above: Library in the Ryotaro Shiba Museum, Tadao Ando. This is the kind of storage we need.
Drive by this live/work space in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake and you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at. The undulating metal fence reads like a piece of sculpture. The cement-board structure behind could be a home, it could be a duplex, it could be an office. In fact it is the home and office of architects Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler of Oyler Wu Collaborative. I visited the space during the Dwell house tours last month and was impressed with how they’d set up their live/work space. A common design language linked the office/public space downstairs with the private/home area upstairs, creating a clean-lined oasis on a busy urban road.
In 2001 Oyler Wu was established when you were both were living in New York City. You both went to Harvard – did you meet there? Yes, during our time there we entered a couple of competitions together. The partnership turned out to good one – in a couple of ways.
You are currently located in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles where you’ve taken a 1930′s residential duplex on a very busy street and turned it into a live/work space. Can you describe that process? The building wasn’t residential when you took it over. At the time we purchased the building in 2009, there was a wood flooring company operating out of the ground floor, and it was in serious need of an overhaul.
Although it had been renovated numerous times, there was never any real attempt to change the exterior from the pseudo-Spanish style stucco box to something more modern. Because of its simplicity, we saw the potential of the building to become a simple, elegant volume.
Because we have been doing most of the work ourselves, the renovation has happened slowly, beginning with those elements that just made it livable. And over the two year period, we’ve begun slowly adding design elements.
The building is clad in cement board with recessed aluminum windows. Why those material choices? The cement board was chosen for its simplicity and the honesty of its materiality. The clear coating reveals the richness of the board and the nailing pattern across the surface. We felt that there was beauty to that that one just can’t get with a stucco surface. The deep recessed windows came out of the need to flatten the surface of the building. The existing building essentially required a second layer, and that process ultimately made the walls incredibly thick. Recessing the windows was a way of expressing that thickness.
You have stripped the interior back to its essentials, exposing the 1930′s wood frame construction. Tell us how those design decisions impact they way you work and live in the space? Nearly everything we own is modern. The exposed wood (and the shelving that was made from wood salvaged during the renovation phase) made for a contrast with those more modern elements in a way that we felt was complimentary to both. I’m not sure that particular aspect dramatically changed how we live so much as it highlights the aesthetic qualities of both. What does change our lives is the live/work configuration of living upstairs and working downstairs, as well as the incredibly vibrant Silver Lake neighborhood.
What inspires you in your work? We’re occasionally asked this question, and we always have a hard time answering it. While we love the work of so many architects (Gaudi, Otto, Miralles, Saarinen to name a few), our work more often works in an evolutionary way. We tend to draw on unanswered questions and tectonic discoveries produced in previous projects as well as specific contextual problems of a given project (a site constraint, for example). It’s also fair to say that we’re constantly inspired by our students (at the Southern California Institute of Architecture – SCI-Arc).