Simcic + Uhrich Architects
Civic and Cultural & Specialty
A beloved, heritage artist studio is re-imagined as a floating showcase, hosting local and international artists in residence.
The structure that would become known as the ‘Blue Cabin’ was built circa 1927 in Coal Harbour, Vancouver. Originally built as a squatter’s cabin, the structure has a long and illustrious history as an artist’s studio on the north shore of Burrard Inlet. In 2015 after its most recent occupants were evicted, the structure was saved, removed, and stored while extensive remediation and restoration work could occur. Unable to find a suitable, permanent home and in response to the lack of affordable artist accommodations in Vancouver, the concept of creating a mobile, floating studio on a barge was born, along with the artist in residence program. A new companion residence structure was also designed and built to complement the cabin’s studio spaces. Its transient nature is a nod to the historical traditions of squatting and resourceful solutions to affordable housing in Burrard Inlet.
The barge, a floating concrete platform, houses the restored Blue Cabin as well as the new contemporary residence structure. In addition to structural remediation for rot repairs, the upgraded heritage structure can withstand seismic and wind loads. Next to the colourful and whimsical Blue Cabin, the new artist residence building that is a steel and timber-framed structure is aesthetically subdued.
Image 2 Credit – Colin Griffiths
Images 3 & 4 Credit – Henri Robideau