Each of the new studios is paired with a so-called “salt box”, a restored traditional house.
Fogo Island lies 20 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland, and has a population of about 2 500 people. This beautiful island has been the background of a sociological and economic experiment, where architecture has played a central role.
Seeing the decline of traditional industries, locally born entrepreneur Zita Cobb in 2001 created the Shorefast Foundation, with the aim of making the local economy serve the community and the culture, not the other way around. Shorefast collaborates with the Fogo Island Arts Corporation, and art and artistic processes are central to all Shorefast activities, as is the symbiosis of visiting people and projects with local people and resources.
In addition to restoring a selection of local historical buildings, Shorefast has been working with Saunders Architecture and local craftsmen to create a set of locations for visiting artists, spread out to different villages and communities on the island. In each location the intervention consists of an existing restored hut or cottage, a so-called “salt box” where the artist will live, and a more remote new studio where they will work. So far four studios have been built and two more are underway.
The scale and materiality of the new structures echo local tradition: timber cladding, stilt foundations, proportions and angles. All six new studios are autonomous, with no connection to public electricity, water or sewage. Each is equipped with solar collectors and log burners, composting toilets, rain water harvesting and grey water treatment systems.