Artist Retreat
Pavilosta, Latvia
Com­pe­ti­tion pro­pos­al, 2nd prize
Bee Breeders

The site is locat­ed in the mid­dle of the pro­duc­tive land­scape out­side Pavilosta, av small fish­ing vil­lage in south west­ern Latvia where the local cli­mate with cold win­ters and a lim­it­ed grow­ing sea­son has taught Lat­vians the val­ue of hus­bandry, resource effi­cien­cy and to pro­tect them­selves from the forces of nature. To live with and pro­tect one­self from nature. The long-term code­pen­den­cy of peo­ple and land has cre­at­ed a mean­ing­ful cul­tur­al land­scape of util­i­tar­i­an beau­ty. Build­ing in such a land­scape require a deeply felt rela­tion between build­ing and landscape.

Faced with the task of design­ing a set of “huts” for poets in res­i­dence we pro­pose to gath­er the pro­gram (rooms for vis­it­ing poets, can­teen, exhi­bi­tion space, ter­races, staff accom­mo­da­tion) under one big wood­en roof that sweeps around an enclosed com­mu­nal clois­ter gar­den seek­ing to strike a bal­ance and facil­i­tate a pro­duc­tive inter­play between the con­flict­ing inter­est of iso­la­tion and com­mu­nion built in to the brief. The writer needs iso­la­tion, phys­i­cal or men­tal, to sort impres­sions and impuls­es into coher­ent ideas and nar­ra­tives. But in order for iso­la­tion to be pro­duc­tive a coun­ter­point is need­ed, a sense of com­mu­nal con­text, of being part of a voca­tion­al col­lec­tive, of not being alone.

All func­tions are reached via a dim­ly lit clois­ter act­ing as a fil­ter between the gar­den and the inte­ri­or spaces as well as serv­ing as the con­nect­ing tis­sue between the dif­fer­ent func­tions placed along the circle’s perime­ter. All pri­vate rooms face out­ward and have unique views of the sur­round­ing fields. The entire build­ing is soar­ing just above the sur­round­ing fields.

Enclo­sures is per­me­at­ed by a sense of sim­plic­i­ty and asceti­cism. The struc­ture is made out of glue­lam colums and beams while cladding is made from heart­wood pine planks and pine ply­wood. The huts are inti­mate spaces, com­pact and robust in appear­ance, con­tain­ing the neces­si­ties of every­day life. A retractable bed, a wood stove, s small space to cook cof­fee, a space to store fire­wood, a space to store clothes and belong­ings, a fixed desk. Every­thing made for a sim­ple life, min­i­miz­ing choic­es. A place to focus. A place to retreat in order to refor­mu­late the world.