Wouldn’t It Be Loverly: Renovated Gothic Church Art Studio

Our big project in perspective class this semester was to design an ideal art studio for somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million. That will buy a lot of chocolates and enormous chairs, but I wanted to make something pretty cool to put them in as well.

I’ve always had a thing for houses made out of converted buildings. I heard once about this decommissioned nuclear missile silo that someone converted into a house, the star feature being the 20 ton silo cover door which could be opened in less than 10 seconds with the aid of several rockets.

Missile silos are pretty cool, but an art studio needs light and silos a more of a subterranean affair. When you need windows there’s only one way to go. Gothic churches.

I’ve seen a few churches converted into houses as well, but most are smaller country churches and I wanted something big and stony like churches are meant to be. Here’s the basic layout I came up with:

The section to the far left, what the cathedral folks would call the narthex, is 2 stories with an entrance hall and some small rooms on the bottom, and then a large open office on top with 20 foot celling. The middle section, the nave, is large and open with a split level staircase to the 1st and 2nd floors. On the far end where the apse and alter would have been is closed off to form a library and reading room. Pretty swanky huh?

Here’s a measured floorplan I drew up in sketchup. You’ll see by the measurements that this is pretty small for a gothic church. We call that Bijou in the real estate biz.

Drawing this thing in perspective was a bit of a challenge. I did quite a few studies. Here was a first attempt based on the sketches above:

And here is a study of the staircase:

One of the techniques we studied in class is called a plan projection. It’s a process where by you can plot out your perspective drawing from a measured floorplan and elevation so that you know everything is precisely the correct size and location in perspective. It’s a time consuming process but it works like a charm. In order to do the projection I needed an elevation to go with my floor plan above, so I made this rough model in sketchup:

Once you get these two as guides, you line everything up on a drawing table along with your drawing paper. My setup looked like this:

And here’s my first attempt at the drawing:

Not too shabby, but I decided I wasn’t completely happy with the angle on things, so I started over. Here was the final result:

 

I decided to try coloring it a bit in photoshop as well. If you look carefully, there are 3 cats hidden in the picture. You can see 2 of them in the detail above.

Along with the overall view I also did a shot from the interior. This time I decided to forego the plan projection and just do the drawing on my own measurement. I settled on a shot looking at my work desk up there on the second floor in the extreme left of the drawing above.

This drawing had a lot of overlapping elements so I actually used 4 sheets of paper overlaid on one another to keep all the parts separated. Here’s what that mess looked like:

You can see all the construction lines I used to plot everything out. A good example is that circle floating in the middle of the page. That’s how I mapped out where each of the 5 legs of the chair base should go.

Here’s how it looks all cleaned up:

I got a little carried away in this one and added some subtle shadows.

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