The site of a former meth lab in North Boulder, Colorado has received a new lease on life as an artist retreat with a beautifully minimalist design. Denver-based tres birds workshop designed the Swoon Art House from scratch with a careful eye on environmental stewardship, using “100 percent renewable resources” including rammed earth walls and geothermal wells.
Created as part of the Swoon/Boulder Museum Contemporary Art International Artists Residency, the 7,000-square-foot Swoon Art House merges forward-thinking design and technology with ancient construction techniques. Designed like a sculpture in itself, the artist retreat features two long structures set at an angle to one another. Round metal roofs top the building and contrast with the 30-inch-thick rammed earth walls created using soil from the site. Four vertical geothermal wells power the building’s heating and cooling system.
The first building houses two lofted bedrooms with bathrooms and a full kitchen for artists in residency. A small glass-walled passageway leads to the second building, which serves as an art studio. Energy-conserving windows line the studio walls, while hidden storage spaces add to the clean, minimalist feel. “The structure, from the physical design to the flow of energy, is based on the circle,” the architecture firm said. “The circle holds particular significance in ancient and modern culture, symbolizing that which is without a beginning or an end.”
Photos by James Florio