BArC Studio, New York: Dynamic, Lean, Peripatetic.
The Culture of Practice
As a peripatetic professional, BArC Studio Principal Catherine Clark straddles cities and continents. Not bound by conventional office spaces, Clark is pictured in her converted chicken coop/fisherman’s shack in Port Jefferson, New York, “My office is wherever I am.”
The firm also shares a studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a carefully curated collection of creative folk. This proximity allows for cross-pollination with other visionaries and chimes well with the BArC doctrine of working on community centres, libraries and schools in partnership with the groups of people who are going to use them.
As the Vice President of the Board of Royal Institute of British Architects, USA, Clark hopes to help guide the shaping of the architectural environment in America to be more like her practice philosophy – people first.
“I think we should help give communities the tools and ambition to be demanding of their buildings, their schools, their infrastructure. Every school in NYC should not be the same, as is currently mandated,” says Clark. “And it isn’t a matter of good design costing more – it could actually cost less. But it is 100% about giving a community a bespoke building that will help their children learn in a healthy space that actively encourages them to dream big.”
Dreaming big is an asset that those seeking to join the coop must possess. And to be sympathetic to Clark’s wider vision: that it is a glorious thing to make beautiful spaces for people to enjoy whether it is a home or a housing estate, a school or a stool. “Good design is democracy in action,” says this sole practitioner with soul.
The best architecture for her is an interesting space that embraces the human scale with an abundance of natural light, good ventilation and company. Much like her very own coop on a hill overlooking the gritty working marina of the North Shore of Long Island.