Studio Sitges

Location Sitges, Spain
Design Principal Tom Kundig

Studio Sitges is a live/work space for a photographer and his family. Located three blocks from the Mediterranean Sea, the building captures the casual energy of this cosmopolitan beach town thirty minutes from Barcelona.

A custom-designed wall and gate of rough concrete and weathered steel pushes the boundaries of the design out to the street. The gate rolls away to reveal a garage and a steeply sloping driveway leading down to the studios. Large panels of COR-TEN steel arch from the ground over the facade to form part of the roof; the entrance to the house is via a tall steel pivot door, inset with a pilot door.

The house is zoned vertically, with two large below-grade photography studios anchoring the building, a main floor for entertaining both large and small groups, and private areas above. A glass elevator moves between floors and culminates in an intimate rooftop atelier. Kundig describes the whole house as a studio—a space in which things can happen.

The underground, double-height photography studios are strikingly raw. In both, cycloramas enable the illusion that the studio floor stretches into infinity. Cars and large pieces of equipment can drive directly into the space. Support areas include a glass-floored viewing area on a mezzanine overlooking the studios, as well as separate dressing, makeup, and spa areas. The studios are wired so that in-progress shoots can be viewed around the world.

The design of the ground floor takes advantage of the mild climate, using sliding and pivot doors to maximize indoor/outdoor living. On the second floor, an interior bridge spans the space and connects the master suite with the other bedrooms. The master suite cantilevers over a dining terrace, while a guest suite opens onto a roof deck and planted roof overlooking the lap pool.

Throughout the house, low-maintenance materials such as COR-TEN, concrete (board formed and cast in place), and mild steel give the home a handcrafted feel. At the top of the house, an atelier with indoor and outdoor space offers the home’s only view of the sea. At night, the atelier combines with the glass topped elevator to appear like a beacon when lit.

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