Designed for an artist, this residence, studio, and guest space for visiting artists is sited on a 40' x 100' urban lot, approximately 100 yards from the ocean and the Venice Boardwalk. The building, in response to its gritty and crowded context, focuses inward, away from the street, steps down in height, and opens itself to the lower scale of the Venice Canals at the rear. The building is divided into three parts. The front piece, a 30' x 30' x 30' high cube contains, at the ground floor, a studio, a workspace, and mezzanine. This space can be separate from or open to the living space. On the second floor above, a studio for visiting artists has private access, a roof deck, and is visually isolated from the rest of the building. The entry is not into the front of the building but around the side, along the 30' high wall and through a 3' x 20' slot into an inner court. The exterior space of the court provides light, space, and contact with the elements. And, together, within the 25' high concrete block fireplace, becomes the center of which the three parts focus. The middle section houses the living or public functions, all within one volume. The kitchen, living, and dining room are divided by the bridge, which is a reference to the bridges of the adjacent canals, and provides the circulation to the third and private space of the master bedroom, bath, exterior deck and roof terrace. Built with a limited budget, this 3800 square foot building cost approximately $300,000.00 or $80.00 per square foot. In part, this defines the use of inexpensive raw materials of plywood, concrete, block and stucco.

These photos are representative of the spaces at the Venable studio in Venice, Ca. This project was an exercise in minimalism as defined by a very limited budget. Simple raw materials define the palette used in an honest expression of this “Finished Rough” Aesthetic.


  • Location: Venice, CA
  • Completed: 1989