Located off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada, Fogo Island is a small land mass with dramatic scenery and a total population of only 2,706 people. There, among raw, poetic landscapes, architect Todd Saunders was commissioned to design a series of artists’ studios.
The socio-architectural project started when Zita Cobb, a native of Fogo Island and a successful entrepreneur, started the Shorefast Foundation, which later grew into The Fogo Island Arts Corporation. To uphold the island’s tradition and maintain cultural activities in the region, Cobb commissioned Canadian architect Todd Saunders to design six remote sites scattered across the island. The studios, dedicated for artists and writers in residence, all show unique design and offer stunning views towards the Atlantic Ocean. Despite being completely off the grid, each of them is somehow associated with one of the island’s local communities.
Perched on a rocky stretch of the coastline in Shoal Bay, ‘Tower Studio’ had its official festive opening in 2011, accompanied by a roaring bonfire and the sounds of local whales recorded as a background score. With a silhouette leaning both forwards and backwards, the studio can be only reached by either hiking along the shore from the nearby community or walking along a narrow wooden boardwalk.
Located in Deep Bay, the smallest of Fogo Island’s communities with a population of one hundred and fifty inhabitants, ‘Bridge Studio’ refers to the the vernacular architectural form, mostly seen in any Newfoundland outport.
An elongated and slightly distorted 1200 m2 box, ‘Long Studio’ sweeps on a series of stakes that lift the structure above the ground to frame a view of the North Atlantic Ocean. At certain times of the year, the view includes drifting icebergs that originate from the glaciers of Greenland.
The ‘Squish Studio’ offers a sharp contrast to the traditional vernacular architecture of the nearby picturesque community of Tilting, a town known for its strong Irish culture. With its remote location and quite a dramatic access, the studio offers a perfect remote artist’s shelter and first served as so for a London-based painter Silke Otto-Knapp.