Basement Office
Basement Office

Gallery View

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Corridor

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Corridor

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

View of Gallery

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Ceiling Detail

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Office View

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Office View

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Office View

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Office View

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

View of Gallery

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Seating

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Gallery View

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Construction Process

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Construction Process

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Construction Process

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Renovation Plan

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Reflected Ceiling Plan

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Office Elevation

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Office Elevation

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Office Elevation

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Corner Reveal Details

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Ceiling Details

press to zoom
Basement Office
Basement Office

Worm's Eye View

press to zoom
1/1

Subterranean Studio

Charlottesville, Virginia

2017

Type: Interior Renovation  

Size: 750 sf

Project Text

The project transformed a roughly finished ranch house basement into a clean, modern office and gallery.  Demolition removed a series of partition walls and all existing finishes including an uninspiring acoustical ceiling tile ceiling. The act opened the space up to the only source of natural light—the entrance door.  The design maximized this single source of daylight by expanding the door opening and glazing in the door. 

 

At 7’-0” floor to ceiling height, the space is compressed in height.  Thus, the design strategy was to play with the ceiling profiles and depths to create spatial definition.  Over the office space a custom accordion profile ceiling was creating to play with light and to break-up the expansive horizontal plane.  LED lighting is installed within coves in the ceiling to give the feeling of skylights within this subterranean space. 

 

Given the constraints with natural lighting, the design explores artificial lighting as a means to establish atmospheric conditions.  Lighting coves are created throughout the gallery alcove and studio and hide LED lighting that wash the walls. Reveals are exploited as an architectural strategy to emphasize form with shadow lines, but also serve as electrical coves and hide the outlets within the gallery and studio. 

The subterranean office is a study in transformation. It takes a ubiquitous suburban space, that is often overlooked or used for storage and transforms it into a contemporary productive space.  It highlights the potential latent in the spaces we typically perceive as inferior and unpleasant.    

Credits

Design

Seth McDowell

Drawings:

Esteban Chavez

 

Construction: 

Seth McDowell

Photography: 

©mcdowellespinosa architects