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When presented with the challenge of converting an existing 2-story office building in Venice to a new video and audio post-production recording facility, we began the design process by articulating the technically introverted recording

and mixing rooms as autonomous buildings placed within the existing interior environment of the overall building shell. The residual landscape created between the existing shell and these new “buildings” reads as both interior lounge and exterior plaza.



In hand held to thin ice …, by artist Andy Goldsworthy, a thin sheet of ice is found leaning against a rock at the water’s shore. Before the ice can fail due to the passing of time and rise in temperature, Goldsworthy makes a deliberate gesture of placing his hand on the center of the sheet of ice.  The handprint, as an object, has its own inherent identity but is more than simply a new spatial presence on the sheet of ice. Though the ice would melt on its own with only the changing environmental conditions, it is the gesture of making the handprint that directly affects the way in which the ice fails; buckling as it thaws on a plane at the center of the imprint. 



In the case of our project, the gesture of placing autonomous sound rooms into the existing 6000 sf building volume directly affects the reading of the interior environment and blurs the otherwise distinctive line between interior and

exterior spaces. Each of the three recording rooms was designed from a central optimal listening point outward. Using ideal geometries to locate speakers, walls, and surfaces for the reflection and absorption of sound, the perimeter

shape and character of each recording room is defined by the centralized technical requirements of an ideal listening environment. 


Each of the sound rooms becomes a three dimensional object (a building) placed within - yet isolated from – the perimeter walls that define the existing building shell. The residual spaces outside of the recording rooms and within the existing shell walls are by contrast not defined by autonomous and self-referential geometries. Rather, they become fluid urban landscapes that resemble the experience of an outdoor environment not unlike an urban plaza or street. 


Just as the character and reading of the sheet of ice is impacted by the gesture of the handprint within its borders and the environment beyond, the character and reading of what was once a singular interior environment is transformed

by the gesture of insertion.

© 2022 by  eric rosen architects

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