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STYLE : ARCHITECTURE : Studio City II

August 01, 1993|BARBARA THORNBURG

Give us "something beautiful," mandated CalArts President Steven Lavine when architects Jeffrey Daniels and Elyse Grinstein were hired to design 20 artists' studios at the California Institute of the Arts. Built on a knoll overlooking Valencia and partly shaded by wispy eucalyptus trees, the cream-colored stucco boxes are easily recognized by their colorfully painted, steeply raked triangular clerestories.

Daniels (the principal designer) and Grinstein grouped the studios--named after developer and art collector Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, who donated money for the project--into a "village" of seven semidetached buildings. Walkways wend their way between the structures and connect several small courtyards. A grassy, tree-shaded area serves as an outdoor focal point, encouraging students to gather and relax in a modern-day version of the village green.

Amenities inside the work spaces include air conditioning, oversized doors for moving large canvases and sculptures in and out and cement floors for easy cleanup. The north-facing clerestory windows flood the 14-by-17-foot interiors with an abundance of natural light. As a result, the studios have been dubbed "the CalArts condos," though living in them is not permitted.

Not surprisingly, the studios have become a popular site. How popular? Says Lavine: "There hasn't been graffiti on any of the buildings since they were built last September. I think that's the best comment of all."

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