hillside studio 1

Perched on a gently sloping hillside, this small artist’s studio bends in the middle to frame the sky on the backside rather than dead-ending in the earth. Architect Christian Tonko envisions the structure, which is located in Bregenz, Austria, as a ‘visual device’ that captures a very specific view of the surroundings for the occupants while also letting in direct sunlight from the southeast.

hillside studio 2

hillside studio 3

“On an underlying conceptual level the design is inspired by an ancient optical device – the camera lucida,” says the firm. “On the one hand it is very literally a bright chamber – constructed to achieve good light conditions which can be modulated to desired levels. At the same time the studio itself acts as an optical framing device similar to the original function of the camera lucida as a drawing aid.”

hillside studio 4

hillside studio 5

The tilted glazing on the uppermost portion of the studio floods the interior with natural light, providing ideal conditions for the working artist in residence to create and display bronze sculptures. Exterior screens make it easy to adjust the amount of light and heat that comes in, blocking the sun if desired.

hillside studio 6

hillside studio 7

Broken down to its most basic form, the studio is essentially a box with a skylight, creased down the middle so part of it matches the angle of the hill. Though the setting is pastoral, the studio is industrial in character, with a raw concrete interior and facade panels made of weathering steel.