AO has worked with the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts on the development of multiple phases of work over a three-decade period. In addition to the art gallery spaces, ceramics fabrication spaces, administrative offices and support spaces, the building is temporary home to 10 artists who live and work within their studio space. Some residential units were created for artists working on large-scale painting projects, while other, more intimate spaces catered to those creating smaller works of sculpture, painting and collage.
The existing surfaces of heavy timber, brick and concrete floors are expressed everywhere possible with the new support spaces, kitchen, bath, furnace, enclosed within a wooden box floating within the volume. These compact boxes leave as much wall and floor space as possible open for the pursuit of art, with flexible lighting to allow virtually any spot within the space to be used. At the end of the six-month residency program all the walls are repainted and the process starts over in a fresh, neutral space.