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Photo courtesy of Todd Saunders


The Shorefast Foundation and the Fogo Island Arts Corporation has commissioned Todd Saunders to design a series of artists’ studios on various Fogo Island locations. The organization is committed to preserving the Islanders’ traditions and aims at rejuvenating the island through the arts and culture. [1]

Todd Saunders, a native of Gander, Newfoundland and now based in Bergen, Norway, is responsible for the iconic architecture of the Fogo Island Arts studios. Situated at various locations on the island, each of the four studios is distinct in design. Anchored into a landscape of volcanic rock by steel legs, they range in size from two hundred to twelve hundred square feet and are one hundred per cent off the grid — equipped with compost toilets, solar powered electricity, wood-burning stoves and high speed internet. In addition to the implementation of ecological building systems, the environmental impact of the construction was minimized by the use of local materials, which were largely transported to the remote building sites by hand.

While the studios were built using materials intended to evoke vernacular building traditions in the region, Saunders’ structures look strikingly contemporary. The stilt legs holding up one end of the structure directly reference the fishing stages used for the salting and drying of cod that are seen throughout the Outport communities [the term used for isolated coastal communities in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador]of Newfoundland. With both the studios and the [Fogo Island Inn], Saunders uses architecture to express an essential fact about life in the region, in which dwellings create a strong bulwark and safe haven against constantly changing weather conditions.

The four Fogo Island Arts artist studios are:

Bridge Studio – Deep Bay, Fogo Island, Newfoundland

Squish Studio – Tilting, Fogo Island, Newfoundland

Tower Studio – Shoal Bay, Fogo Island, Newfoundland

Long Studio – Joe Batt’s Arm, Fogo Island, Newfoundland [2]


[1]      “Bridge Studio.” SAUNDERS ARCHITECTURE. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.saunders.no/bridge-studio.

[2]       “Architecture.” Fogo Island Arts, October 12, 2013. https://www.fogoislandarts.ca/about/architecture/.

Additional information:

“Art on the Edge of the World.” Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada – Official Tourism Website. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/trip-ideas/travel-stories/art-on-the-edge-of-the-world.

“Bridge Studio.” SAUNDERS ARCHITECTURE. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.saunders.no/bridge-studio.

“Long Studio.” SAUNDERS ARCHITECTURE. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.saunders.no/long-studio.

Rellihan, Kathleen. “Explore the Otherworldly ARTIST Studios on a Tiny Remote Island OFF NEWFOUNDLAND.” Architectural Digest. Architectural Digest, October 23, 2018. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/fogo-island-artist-studios.

“Squish Studio.” SAUNDERS ARCHITECTURE. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.saunders.no/squish-studio.

“Stunning Geometric Art Studio Sits in Gentle Contrast to Rugged Fogo Island.” Inhabitat Green Design Innovation Architecture Green Building. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://inhabitat.com/stunning-geometric-art-studio-sits-in-gentle-contrast-to-rugged-fogo-island/.

“Tower Studio.” SAUNDERS ARCHITECTURE. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.saunders.no/tower-studio.

“X Marks the Spot.” Canadian Architect, October 31, 2013. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/x-marks-the-spot/.

Design on the Edge. YouTube. YouTube, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfw73jNG9us.

Project Title: Fogo Island Artist Studios
Artists:  Todd Saunders
Year: 2011

Place: Fogo Island, Newfoundland & Labrador

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