Coming Soon: Photography Studio in Former Garage


Another permit is ready to go, which means we get to see the start of construction on our latest project, a Photography Studio in Edgewater created from a disused Auto Shop!  Here’s an introduction to the project.

And you can find final photos here!

Photography Studio in an Uptown Auto Shop

The building that our client chose to become his new photography studio is a former auto mechanic’s garage along Broadway in Uptown.  The brick building was very nearly an empty shell with minimal interior walls, a sturdy concrete floor and overhead garage doors giving access both from the front on Broadway and at the back onto the alley.  The back of the building cuts off at a 45 degree angle created by the alley and a small (very rundown) extra storage building at the back of the building filled in the last triangle created by the property boundary.

The new space will contain several program elements: An open photography studio (naturally) with lots of room for setting up and plenty of natural light, lots of associated storage and some office space, also a full bathroom and functional kitchen (work life balance, folks), and parking space for two cars.

Schematic Plan Development

Our first schematic plans oriented the studio spaces toward the front of the building – the street side, with car access from the alley to a small garage.  We planned to use the existing back “triangle” of the building as storage, since it had been built after the fact and was not as well constructed as the rest of the building but a little more exploration showed that the old joists were framed right into the wall.


Our next iteration transformed that undesirable back corner of the building into one of its greatest features – a courtyard which could borrow light from the alley and preserve the best parts o the old structure, while removing the structurally unsound elements.

plan_early a

Once we designed the courtyard, it became clear that separating it from the studio and active spaces with a garage and a long hallway was a nearly criminal misuse of the space.  We flipped the orientation of the building, relegating the parking area off of busy Broadway and shifting the studio spaces back toward the courtyard.  We also added a mezzanine over the garage which allows us to maximize full height space in the studio area but squeeze a little extra square footage (and add some views out over broadway) to the east side of the building.

/Volumes/projects/Jordano Studio/Drawings/Plans/Jordano-Floorpla

Courtyard Study

Once we decided on the courtyard off the back alley we had some fun experimenting to do in order to discover the best way remove the worst of the while preserving some privacy from the passing cars in the alley.  The sketches below show off two of our favorite possibilities.

/Volumes/projects/Jordano Studio/Drawings/Plans/Jordano-Floorpla

Facade Experiments

The existing building may have been a simple mechanic’s garage (probably since it was first constructed), but it reflects the construction quality and detail of another time.  The brick structure and limestone accent are well worth preserving and we knew we’d want to keep them intact.  The storefront windows and garage door were not as nice and we knew from the beginning that we’d replace them.  We explored several material options for inexpensive but interesting glazing and panel combinations that could work with the brick – here are a few of them.

Option A: Hardi-board and black metal accents

elevation b

Option B: Corrugated Metal Siding

elevation a

Option C: Corten steel panels

elevation c

We are very excited to see how this photography studio will come out.  We’ll keep you up to date with its construction and have a triumphant conclusion post in practically no time at all.

Watch this spot!