In the upcoming year, I am planning to build an art studio space in Portola Valley, California for visiting artists and guests of the Dhillon Marty Foundation. Its mission is to nurture the creative process by providing artists with room, board, and a cloistered countryside environment where they can work amid natural beauty without interruption.
Since the final product is an effort to promote art and culture in the community, I think it would be appropriate to promote the same ideals in its construction and publicity. The Dhillon Marty Foundation in partnership with Stanford University is in the process of recruiting innovative architects to collaborate on the design concept through a charrette. By extending our affiliations as such, my hope is to link the Champ de Portola to the greater artistic community in the Bay Area and globally.
The property is located at the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountain range, an area surrounded by open space preserves and imbued with indigenous flora and fauna. A place where artists can experience nature through all five senses and draw inspiration from the sloping green mountains, the smells of oak and redwood bark, and the nightly cricket-serenades. The studio space will be located in a 40’ x 40’ corner of a larger property, which is designed to be a working urban farm—to be managed by a permanent caretaker.
The preliminary design concept I’ve rendered entails a 15’ x 20’ cottage with three levels. The ground floor will be an empty studio space with minimal furnishing and sliding glass doors to usher in the daylight. The basement level will include a kitchen and storage lockers. The bathroom and shower can be installed in the basement or separately in an outhouse. Beds will be located in lofts above the ground floor, each fitted with a skylight so that the artists can gaze at the stars as they fall asleep. I would like the facility to house two or three transient artists and a permanent caretaker.
One of the Dhillon Marty Foundation’s primary objectives is to engage the people of Greater Punjab in the promotion of humans rights and peace by bringing Punjabis of India and Pakistan closer through cultural exchange and dialogue. Sikh temples, also known as Gurudawaras, are known throughout the world as a place with open doors to those in need. A place where suffering people can obtain food and a place to sleep for free. My hope with the Champ de Portola is to reflect a similar ‘open door’ philosophy, where artists in the community can seek refuge from the pressures of the modern world and submerge themselves in their work.