Newfoundland-born, Norway-based architect Todd Saunders goes way back with the AZ Awards. In the inaugural year, his Long Studio, on Fogo Island, earned him the first-ever AZ Award for Commercial Architecture. The modest art studio was one of six he was commissioned to design for the Shorefast Foundation and the Fogo Island Arts Corporation; these small-scale builds led to the project that would earn him another AZ Award, in 2015: the Fogo Island Inn. In between, Saunders also joined our esteemed jury in 2013.
His office takes on new projects at such a rapid fire pace that the world – still in awe over the Fogo structures, which continue to receive global accolades – hasn’t quite kept up. Among his most recent projects are a home for his own family, a series of retreats in rural Alberta (the first is set to be completed in a year’s time), and a tiny, sculptural guest house in Norway.
Slice is a sweet wedge of living space, set amid a trio of old plum trees. The outdoor room is more deck than interior and more landscape than anything. At just 15 metres square, the slant-roofed interior section incorporates a small kitchen and bathroom to complement the simple, serene bedroom – which opens to a large patio that wraps two of the fruit trees.
Capped with a triangular foot, the black, sloping form seems to slip right into the grass, particularly as the sun falls. The effect evokes the Fogo Island studios. Saunders cites these small interventions as an excellent learning experience for young architects, which straddle the lines between art and architecture and let the imagination roam free – within the safety of a limited footprint and budget, of course.
Meet this year’s AZ Award winners on June 17 at the Evergreen Brick Works, or on the pages of our July/August 2016 issue, on newsstands June 20.