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Butterfly Studio: A private workshop for art and reflection by Valerie Schweitzer Architects

Project name:
Butterfly Studio
Architecture firm:
Valerie Schweitzer Architects
Westport, United States
Tom Leighton, Paul Bartholomeuw
Principal architect:
Design team:
Built area:
350 ft²
Design year:
Completion year:
Colorado blue spruce and azaleas
All Phase Construction, Bridgeport, Ct, USA
Douglas fir wood framing, steel columns, and beams, low-e-double pane glass, stucco-cladding with trowel-finish, teak wood cladding, new and recycled. Poured concrete floor with electric (snow-melting) radiant heat; custom windows with aluminum frames both fixed and operable; custom skylight with aluminum frame
Educational › Workshop

Valerie Schweitzer Architects: Inspired in part by the closing of a butterfly’s wings and other organic forms, this 350 square-foot art studio and private office for a family home in Westport, Connecticut, provides a serene refuge.

Like shards protruding from the earth, the studio’s angled panels clad in stucco and recycled teak, impart a primitive and futuristic quality at the same time. The structure exploits the potential of glass, wood and steel.

The expansive skylight of steel and thermally-insulated glass eliminates the need for day-lighting, even for an artist. It also creates an airiness despite the confined floor plate. Efficiency is furthered by the sealed poured concrete floor that contains radiant heat piping; one may roll a work desk on wheels throughout the space.

butterfly shaped studio

Due to the skylight and narrow windows, there is a strong sense of privacy and being hidden from the rest of the world. The view of changing skies and light create an optimal space for intermittent reflection during artistic production. 

Cross-ventilation is achieved by carefully placed windows that capture breezes off the proximate Long Island Sound. A half-bath is included.

Butterfly Studio Valerie Schweitzer Architects

workshop skylight in the ceiling

natural sunlight enters the workshop through skylight

modern house with private office in garden

modern residence surrounded with green landscape

private office with illumination at night

butterfly shaped office studio

private office in the garden

workshop studio with illumination

elevation drawing


About Valerie F. Schweitzer Architects

Valerie F. Schweitzer Architects aims to construct inventive spaces that are not just visually arresting, but communicate a central purpose. That purpose might be the light-drenched transporting dimensions of an artist’s studio, or the playfulness of a Los Angeles apartment building.

With her small team, Schweitzer creates bold structures that attempt the shoring up of the human spirit. Principal V.F. Schweitzer’s residential buildings are also efforts to improve and integrate the fabric of the surrounding streets. With her additional training as a painter, Schweitzer integrates textiles, color and lighting into a synchronized assemblage, widening the application of architecture. Schweitzer studied architecture at Princeton University for her Bachelors of Art degree, and UCLA for her Masters of Architecture, receiving honors at both institutions. Her firm is based in New York City.

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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