Southern Maine Community College: Lighthouse Art Studio


Sited beside the granite fortifications of Fort Preble, the Lighthouse Art Studio was formerly a boat shed that sat vacant and neglected. The Art Department was in dire need of space for students to create works of sculpture. With very little funding, a simple intervention to create two large openings in the massive concrete and timber frame walls was the simplest and most effective strategy to transform the underutilized structure into a place of creative discovery. The exterior relates to its surroundings with an expression of simplicity and clarity. Eaves and trim details were minimized in this spirit and white siding was chosen to tie the studio to the original white clapboard buildings of the Fort.

The sustainability goals were two-fold; material re-use and minimal energy loads offset by renewable energy. The existing frame, sheathing, and foundation were maintained, and only minor repairs were required. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) were used to wrap the existing timber and concrete frame. Rigid insulation and crushed stone under the new concrete floor and face of the foundation walls continued the thermal barrier and mitigated the severe water infiltration. Art students now have a stimulating view of the Casco Bay Islands while north light illuminates their workspace.


Client  |  Southern Maine Community College

Location  |  South Portland, Maine

Photographer  |  Magnus Stark Photography

Awards  |  2014 AIA Maine Merit Award