Passive Modern Art Studio . Newburgh. New York / NY

Architect : Barlis Wedlick Architects . New york City / NY + Hudson / NY

Photos : Adrian WM Jones

About The Architecture

A simple stylish functional building with a year round temperature of 72 degree heated and cooled by two small Mitsubishi wall mounted air conditioning units, who in new England doesn't dream of that? This passive structure was designed by Barlis Wedlick Architects, a Manhattan / Hudson based practice who specialise in passive architecture / design and buildings. This particular art studio consists of one open space with a simple link up to the original house. It is a vast, clinical, sophisticated space with a smooth concrete floor. I am not expert however Alan Barlis offered me a brief education on the strict principals which originated in Germany of how to achieve this such incredible year round performance.

Firstly the building must be wrapped, completely. That means that way under the concrete floor there is foam insulation, the wall and roof are obviously insulated to a specific tolerance, the windows etc, the whole structure must be enveloped in specific materials which combine to create a seamless barrier against moisture and leakage.

The direction which the building faces is also crucial as year round the movements of the sun play a vital part in the climate of these structures, generally double glaze (or triple glazed) in this case windows are situated on the southern facing side of the building with carefully situated air vents on the opposing side of the building to control the air flow. The temperature is then moderated by the two air condition units placed at either end of the building.

Mr. Barlis explained that although you are paying a moderately higher price for the materials you are actually saving else where on the project and of course in the long run your running costs for a space of this size in New England are minimal in comparison.

For more information on passive homes and performance buildings contact Barlis Wedlick at the bottom of this page.

About This Shoot

Shot unseen, this relatively simple space posed numerous challenges. Firstly, dividing up an open, uniform, white space with minimal content is always demanding, you really have to push to generate your own  narrative in order to convey just how different this seemingly ordinary space is.

Inside it has wonderful clean lines but hooking them together and working the natural light into a very neutral space took a great deal of supplemental lighting. I used strategically place monolights coupled with up to 6 speedlites (at much higher outputs than expected) to bring out the freshness and purity of the building. The triple glazed windows posed and equal problem as the three layers of glass caused the view to refract an equal number of times. This was over come by balancing the weight of the exterior and interior light to a point where it did not seem apparent enough to draw the viewers attention. Lastly, with the low mid November sun the leaf shadows last the whole day across the exterior, for this reason I decided to shoot most of the exterior as an early twilight boosted by monolights at a fair distance.

The exterior materials are artificially highlighted by the strobes and mixed with the late afternoon sun in order to create a curiosity that this building installs when seen in person. While distinctly different to the original house this passive modern art studio sits comfortably beside it, shooting using these lighting techniques at this time of day helped highlight the building's subtle originality while showing how it is comfortably included by the original buildings.

Check out the images below if you are curious as to how some of these shots were created and the challenges this building posed when being photographed.

Photo Shoot Set Up Images

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Barlis Wedlick Architects

Adrian WM Jones

Adrian Jones is a Connecticut based architectural photographer & documentary photographer. With over 20 years in the field he has worked in many areas of the film and photography industry and now uses his vast experience to focus on photographing architecture for architects and personal documentary projects.

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