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Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies

Fogo Island Arts is a residency-based contemporary art venue for artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, curators, designers, and thinkers from around the world.

The Shorefast Foundation and the Fogo Island Arts Corporation has commissioned the Newfoundland-born, Norway-based architect Todd Saunders to design a series of six artists’ studios on various Fogo Island locations. The organization is committed to preserving the Islanders’ traditions and aims at rejuvenating the island through the arts and culture. Whose work is frequently site-specific to the North Atlantic and draws upon the region’s wood-building tradition.

Fogo-Island-Long-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-09-Bent-René-Synne-759x502 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Long Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

Saunders’ concept for the studios revolves around a series of strong geometric shapes that stand in contrast to the nature around them, without competing with it. Orientated towards the sea, the studios offer their residents the perfect view of elemental extremes and seasonal changes. Each one has its own unique design and is connected to one of the island’s communities.

The first studio to be built, in 2010, was the 130 sq m Long Studio on the north site of Joe Batt’s Arm, close to the inn. The structure hovers on a series of stilts that lift it off the ground to frame a view of the Atlantic. The next three were finished at the end of 2011 and are the scheme’s most recent additions – the tall, origami-esque Tower Studio in Shoal Bay; the smaller Bridge Studio, conceived as a place for contemplation with its own small library, located next to a freshwater lake in Deep Bay; and Squish Studio, a distorted orthogonal volume near Tilting, home to the island’s predominantly Irish community. Two more, the Short Studio in Little Seldom and the Fogo Studio by Fogo village, will complete the family of structures later in the year.

Fogo-Island-Tower-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-13-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Tower Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

As much as the architecture is tied to the grass roots locality of Fogo Island, the residency programme is still a newcomer, although it is one the locals are looking forward to welcoming. The studios are gearing up for full completion, with the first four already in use. The inn, also in development, is planned to open in late 2012. Designs for the furnishings have been sourced all over the world, with all the elements being made by local people, helping to generate employment and develop skills.

The Fogo Island Arts Corporation has the power to transform the island into a new cultural, ecological and culinary geotourism destination, while at the same time kickstarting a new financial future for the area. ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in ten years’ time, we were flourishing as an arts-active, fishing community that was a model for social entrepreneurship, a place that our young people could come back home to and work?’ says Cobb. Given her team’s enthusiasm and expertise, and the architecture on offer, there is now a good chance they will.

Fogo-Island-Bridge-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-09-Bent-René-Synne-750x1000 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Bridge Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

The overall design of the project was assigned to the Newfoundland born architect Todd Saunders who with his genuine soft spot for tradition approached the project on a personal and familiar level. The result is that Saunders has managed to introduce new angles to the island’s natural environment with ‘clean’ geometric shapes offering astonishing views for all visitors to enjoy. Every single studio has its own unique design and is associated with one of the island’s local communities.

Fogo-Island-Squish-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-10-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Squish Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

Long Studio:

Completed in 2010, the first of the batch is Long Studio, a camera lens set on the rocks of Joe Batt’s Arm at a 45-degree angle to the ocean. The parallelogram clad in black-stained pine zigzags on the inside, each space thus created taking account of the season when it will be occupied. The covered, open-air section allows spring to be sampled; the middle deck, summer; and the windowed section provides shelter once the cold weather arrives. Like its companions, the studio is fully ecological, meaning it produces its own energy.

Fogo-Island-Long-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-03-Bent-René-Synne-750x1000 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Long Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

Tower Studio:

There is no paved road leading directly to the Tower Studio. To get there, visitors must take a narrow (25 cm) wooden walkway built over a peat field dotted with cloudberries, found at the end of a long bay. Out of respect for the ecosystem, the materials to build this disorienting, convoluted space were carried by wheelbarrow along the makeshift path. Rising up 32!metres and divided into three levels, the twisted, complex pavilion originates in the architect’s memory of seeing towers for the first time on a trip to Montreal.

Fogo-Island-Tower-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-17-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Tower Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

Bridge Studio:

This tiny writer’s pavilion, completed in 2011, is something of an island within an island, since it is located in the tiny community of Deep Bay, population 150. And like its fellow studios, it is paired with a traditional saltbox house that was restored to allow the temporary residents to rub shoulders with the local population outside of working hours.

Fogo-Island-Bridge-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-08-Bent-René-Synne-750x1000 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Bridge Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

Squish Studio:

Placed on an enormous coastal outcrop, the immaculate, trapezoidal Squish Studio sits on the banks of the very Irish and panoramic community of Tilting. A woodstove, a composting toilet, photovoltaic panels and a kitchenette make up the essentials provided to the lucky artist who can move in to work.

Attached to six different communities dotting the shoreline that humours the ocean’s moods, Saunders’ geometrical concepts had to express their own unique modernity and poetry without overshadowing the precarious heritage that this project aims to retrace, preserve and foster. For example, out of Fogo Island’s 2,500 inhabitants, only eight craftsmen remain with the skills to construct the wooden punts that once bobbed in port waters. Shorefast members see the arts as a powerful vector for exhibiting, perpetuating and immortalizing this treasure.

Fogo-Island-Squish-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-03-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Squish Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

Saunders says of the land where he was born: “It’s not a place that you come from; it’s a place that possesses you.” For the 44-year-old architect, the visceral sense of belonging is inseparable from his strong commitment to this creative journey, considered perilous even by its instigators. Many of his peers would have found their convictions tested solely by the trip to reach the site, requiring travel by air, land and sea. It’s hardly a quick commute between Montreal and Toronto. But the real challenge, apart from the technical aspects, lay more in the intellectual approach, which demonstrates his sensitivity, and above all in the delicate balance between boldness and understatedness in this context of high vulnerability.

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Squish Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

“The greatest risk for an architect who wants to build there is, well, architecture: a structure that seems too designed would have looked silly, at best, and insulting at worst. [!…!] I had to make modern architecture the way a Newfoundlander would,” Todd Saunders told the New York Times last spring, as the first blows of the hammer resounded in the different communities.

Fogo-Island-Squish-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-09-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Squish Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

Now that four of the six studios are finished, the countdown has started for the inauguration of the more ambitious project, Fogo Island Inn. No matter how committed she is to the initiative, Zita Cobb is well aware that its success or failure will have consequences. There are concerns about profitability, dependence, culture shock, spillover, and so on. But if the angel sent by heaven manages to reinvent Fogo through her good intentions, using the power of the arts as her main tool, her greatest legacy will still be hope.

Fogo-Island-Squish-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-16-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Squish Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

Saunders Architecture

The Shorefast Foundation and the Fogo Island Arts Corporation has commissioned Todd Saunders to design a series of six artists’ studios on various Fogo Island locations. The organization is committed to preserving the Islanders’ traditions and aims at rejuvenating the island through the arts and culture.

Long Studio:

The solitary, off-the-grid Long Studio, Located near the Newfoundland community of Joe Batt’s Arm hovers on a series of stilts that lifts the structure above the ground to frame a view of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Fogo-Island-Long-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-01-Bent-René-Synne-759x502 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Long Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

  • Size: 120 sqm
  • Completion Year: 2010
  • Credits: Todd Saunders with Attila Béres, Ryan Jorgensen, Ken Beheim-Schwarzbach, Nick Herder, Rubén Sáez López, Soizic Bernard, Colin Hertberger, Christina Mayer, Olivier Bourgeois, Pål Storsveen

Tower Studio:

The Tower Studio is dramatically situated on a stretch of rocky coastline in Shoal Bay, Fogo Island, Newfoundland.

Fogo-Island-Tower-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-01-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Tower Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

  • Size: 50 sqm
  • Completion Year: 2011
  • Credits: Todd Saunders with Attila Béres, Ryan Jorgensen, Ken Beheim-Schwarzbach, Nick Herder, Rubén Sáez López, Soizic Bernard, Colin Hertberger, Christina Mayer, Olivier Bourgeois, Pål Storsveen

Bridge Studio:

The Bridge Studio is dramatically located on a steep hillside overlooking the calm waters of an inland pond.

Fogo-Island-Bridge-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-01-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Bridge Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

  • Size: 30 sqm
  • Completion Year: 2011
  • Credits: Todd Saunders with Attila Béres, Ryan Jorgensen, Ken Beheim-Schwarzbach, Nick Herder, Rubén Sáez López, Soizic Bernard, Colin Hertberger, Christina Mayer, Olivier Bourgeois, Pål Storsveen

Squish Studio:

The Fogo Island Squish Studio is located just outside the small town of Tilting on the eastern end of Fogo Island.

Fogo-Island-Squish-Studio-By-Saunders-Architecture-01-Bent-René-Synne-759x569 Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies / Saunders Architecture

Squish Studio – © Bent Rene´Synnevåg

  • Size: 30 sqm
  • Completion Year: 2011
  • Credits: Todd Saunders with Attila Béres, Ryan Jorgensen, Ken Beheim-Schwarzbach, Nick Herder, Rubén Sáez López, Soizic Bernard, Colin Hertberger, Christina Mayer, Olivier Bourgeois, Pål Storsveen

About - Fogo Island Arts:

About – Fogo Island Arts:

Established in 2008, Fogo Island Arts is located off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. With the opening of the Fogo Island Inn in 2013, Fogo Island Arts will enter a new phase of its evolution, expanding its program to include exhibitions at the Inn, publications produced in collaboration with international imprints, and partnerships with public institutions globally. These initiatives are part of a social enterprise-based business model that will support the economic viability of the Fogo Island Inn and the growth of tourism on Fogo Island.

The programs at Fogo Island Arts provide alternatives to more traditional international residencies and public art galleries in North America — in part due to the resourcefulness and creativity of Fogo Islanders, which provides a vital framework for the organization’s activities.

Critical engagement with the residents of Fogo Island forms the core of our programs. This means we design our educational projects and public events with both local and international audiences in mind.

The past years have already shown Fogo Island Arts to be a springboard, launching the professional careers of many artists and curators. We are recognized globally as a leading-edge contemporary art institution, providing support for artistic exploration and production.

Fogo Island Arts works to create meaningful partnerships — locally, nationally and internationally. Collaboration enhances knowledge through the sharing of resources, strengthening capacities and stimulating creative thought. By facilitating collaborations between emerging and established artists, curators, scholars and the public at large, we are building a growing national and international network of associates that help to support the institute and its programs.

Arts project by Shorefast Foundation in Fogo Island:

Arts project by Shorefast Foundation in Fogo Island:

The Shorefast Foundation believes the arts will play a key role in helping to secure the future sustainability of Fogo Island and Change Islands, which are located off the northeast coast of Newfoundland in Canada.In pursuit of this vision, Fogo Island Arts takes a multifaceted approach.Fogo Island Arts Residencies provide opportunities for artists and thinkers from a wide range of disciplines to live and work on Fogo Island for varying periods of time. All artists-in-residence live in heritage houses and work in one of four off-the-grid studios designed by architect Todd Saunders, which are situated at different locations around the island.The considered locations of the studios and artists’ homes help connect artists-in-residence with the day-to-day lives of the Island’s local communities. Fogo Island Arts also works closely with the Fogo Island Inn’s Community Host program, which introduces visitors to the traditional activities of outport Newfoundland and Labrador.

Artists-in-residence are encouraged, but not required, to undertake collaborations with Island residents. Past projects have included films made with the participation of Fogo Islanders, and international designers and local craftspeople working together to create furniture designs informed by local traditions, available materials and outport ways of life. Fogo Island Arts envisions future collaborations to potentially be a source of income generation for the artists, designers and the Island’s communities. These Design Initiatives help to fulfill the social enterprise mission of the Shorefast Foundation and Fogo Island Arts. Selected artists-in-residence will also present their work in the Fogo Island Gallery. A purpose-built contemporary art space, the Gallery is housed in the Fogo Island Inn and will open in Spring 2013. Our Publications program, created in collaboration with major international art publishers, will help to create a further discursive context for Gallery exhibitions.

The Fogo Island Dialogues will be a roving series of conferences, held on Fogo Island and other locations (such as St. John’s, Montreal and Vienna). Featuring leading thinkers in their respective fields, the Dialogues will address important questions faced by the global community in the 21st century. The initial series of conferences, scheduled for Spring 2013, will look at the topic of “the livelihood and renewal of remote communities.”

The Fogo Island Dialogues exemplify how all Fogo Island Arts initiatives are framed by an engagement with the Island’s local communities. While the conferences will provide an opportunity to reflect on the circumstances of rural and remote communities, such as those found on Fogo Island and Change Islands, the Fogo Island Arts’ project as a whole will function as a business initiative for the Islands. Fogo Island Arts plans to partner with a number of institutions globally to stage these conferences and to produce the series of publications that will accompany the Dialogues.

In addition to the film projects realized within the Residencies program, Fogo Island Arts will also present film screenings in the Fogo Island Cinema. Using film to bring communities together and foster discussion has deep roots on Fogo Island and Change Islands. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), an important partner for Fogo Island Arts’ film initiatives, is also a pioneer in the use of media technology to initiate community dialogue.

What’s known today as the Fogo Process was an NFB project carried out in the late 1960s, in partnership with Extension Services of Memorial University and the Fogo Island Improvement Committee. NFB director Colin Low filmed a series of interviews with Fogo Island and Change Islands residents about the pressing issues facing their communities due to the decline in the fishery, which had up to that time been the Islands’ economic mainstay. The films were subsequently screened for Island residents and government officials, creating a conversation between the two parties that led to, among other things, the creation of a fishermen’s cooperative. The Fogo Process is today recognized around the world as prototype for the way media can be used to promote the exchange of ideas leading to social change.

The spirit of the Fogo Process continues with the Fogo Island Arts Education program. Educational initiatives will include art and filmmaking workshops for Island residents, community groups and students attending Fogo Island Central Academy. These workshops and presentations will be led by artists-in-residence and other arts and educational professionals associated with Fogo Island Arts.

Project Data:

Project name: Fogo Island Arts Studio & Residencies
Location: Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada
Coordinates: n/a
Type:

  • Type By Characteristic: Studio, Cabin / Hut, Holiday House
  • Type By Site: Island House,
  • Type By Size: Tiny House – (less than 51 sqm)
  • Type By Structural: Wooden House

Specific Use of Building: Arts Studio & Residencies
Project Year: 2010-2011
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2011

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Shorefast Foundation
Architects: Saunders Architecture – Vestre Torggate 22 5015, Bergen, Norway
Coordinates: Todd Saunders with Attila Béres, Ryan Jorgensen, Ken Beheim-Schwarzbach, Nick Herder, Rubén Sáez López, Soizic Bernard, Colin Hertberger, Christina Mayer, Olivier Bourgeois, Pål Storsveen
Text Description: © Courtesy of  Saunders Architecture, wallpaper, Shorefast Foundation
Images: © Saunders Architecture, Bent Rene´Synnevåg

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