Artist in a Box Shanty

In 2016 NewStudio, for the second year, participated in the Art Shanty Projects. Programmatically the Art Shanty was designed to provide a space for artists who were inspired by the color, light and moods of the lake.  The Shanty was constructed on skids, allowing for flexibility and movability between land, water and ice. (Photo credit: Russell Photo Studio


For the third year, NewStudio participated in IIDA's 2015 Fusion + Fashion runway show. In 2015 the call to action was to "Find Your Muse" and translate it into a unique ensemble for the runway. NewStudio Architecture chose the Lake, White bear Lake, as our Muse, or source of inspiration and titled our entry “Siren of White Bear Lake.” Our interpretation took on the hues and flow of water.  Both structured and unstructured forms represented the different stages on the lake through the year.  And, the trim on the skirt the wake of the water – made up of spinnaker cloth.  Other materials included upholstery & drapery fabrics, and wallcovering & 3Form. Images courtesy of Joe Krummel Photography & Design.


Curling Clubhouse

In 2014 NewStudio was selected to participate in the Art Shanty Projects, a non-profit artist driven semi annual public art installation on ice. After having had an office field trip to the Frogtown Curling Club and with the 2014 Winter Olympics overlapping with the event, our team determined that Curling would offer the perfect outdoor  program for the project. With little to no curling skills, our team would engage the public with curling tutorials on a handmade ice sheet made with colored cray paper. The shanty structure itself was programmed as a warming house filled with a gallery wall of historical curling images as well as instructional diagrams and updated Olympic curling scorecard. 


In 2013, the Northland Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) hosted the Fusion + Fashion fundraiser, challenging participants to create a couture ensemble inspired by the built environment. Newstudio Architecture won the award for Most Unique Material. Out of 26 entries, only 6 won recognition. NewStudio's final design was inspired by the McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul's Como Park and was constructed using a polymer-based drainage mat. 

Entry Scaffold Structure

Entry Scaffold Structure

Bar Scaffold Structure

Bar Scaffold Structure


In November of 2012, AIA- Flint and the Flint Public Art Project jointly launched the first annual Flat Lot design competition, a program to design and construct a temporary summer pavilion on a surface parking lot in the middle of historic downtown Flint. ‘Flat Lot- Re-imagining the Parking Lot’ sought to energize an otherwise un-remarkable but very visible and publically used space. Inspired by the project, NewStudio assembled a design team to work on the competition. The team consisted of Marcy Conrad Nutt, Adam Jarvi and Brita Hauser.

The conditions of the design were that it not occupy more than 8 parking spaces during regular business hours, that it provide shelter, shade, and seating for a wide range of programs and be constructed with a budget of only $25,000. NewStudio’s proposal included two strategies. The first strategy was to create a canopy condition above. This would be achieved by creating separate pavilion structures made of scaffolding that were united by expansive volumes of rope. Scaffolding as a building material is widely available, cost effective, and fundamentally temporary. Rope, similarly cost effective, can be modulated in varying ways to create gradients of light and shade. The scaffold pavilions would each serve different programs- including an entryway, a bar for resting, eating and drinking, and a bandshell for music and events. The second strategy was to create a colorful pavement condition. This would be achieved by painting the parking stalls vibrant colors. Colors and graphics on the pavement in addition to the canopies would assist in defining space in an otherwise open expanse. 

The contest drew about 220 entries from architects and designers in 35 countries.


Envisioning Sustainable and Affordable Family Housing.

The International Network For Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism, an international organization focused on creating buildings and places that respect local traditions, operates under the patronage of the United Kingdom’s Prince Charles of Wales and his charity foundation. In 2013, it issued a challenge to the international design community to create sustainable and affordable housing designs for the urban poor in an area near Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. The budget for each unit was limited to $12,000; the contest also specified a building site near a river that floods often.

Wale Falade, Project Manager at NewStudio Architecture, led the firm’s design team. “My upbringing in Lagos exposed me to a wide diversity of economic groups. Though there are largely affluent neighborhoods, it wasn’t uncommon to see very expensive homes next to poorer homes. Also, street hawkers were clearly visible in front of office towers. The large visible inequality in Lagos has left an impression on me and I always look forward to ways to address it, so this contest appealed to me.”

The team from NewStudio Architecture research focused on the peaceful Gbagyi people, who were the original inhabitants of the area but have been displaced. Wale explained, “We wanted to understand their traditional ways of living and how they built their homes in the past.”

Based on what the team learned, they focused on a design that could expand as resident families grew, creating a type of family compound. It included two building connected in an “L” shape with a shared “utility core” at the corner where the structures met. Shared utilities, including a water spigot, storage, and a rooftop garden were envisioned to help limit living costs for the families in the two structures.

Nestled within the “L,” the center area formed a common courtyard space that served as an extension of the kitchen and living room. “Outdoor cooking is important for people in Nigeria, and we wanted a gathering place that was easily accessible,” said Wale.

The team specified a passive ventilation system for air circulation, noting the sporadic electricity available for fans or air conditioning. The drawings also included a community garden and an anaerobic digester for processing waste from the apartments into natural gas for cooking and other uses.

“We envisioned adapting the local mud material from the site to use in building the structures, similar to the traditional ways of the indigenous people,” added Wale. “Our cost came in at $12,146 for this design solution. It was a great team effort!”

Unfortunately, site mitigation costs made the project too expensive, so the competition was put on hold indefinitely. “I’m pleased with the work we did. Who knows? Maybe Prince Charles will find a way to fund this project some day!”


White Bear Lake is slowly dropping. While the lake has historically witnessed wide fluctuations in its water levels due to its relatively small watershed, the current drop has been directly associated with falling water levels of the aquifer below. The Prairie Du Chien-Jordan Aquifer that underlies the lake has, in recent years, been slowly tapped as an increase in water demand by surrounding neighborhoods has exceeded its ability to replenish. The falling water levels of the aquifer result in the falling water levels of the lake as the lake drains to replenish the aquifer, much like a porous bowl. This results in closed beaches, newly exposed islands, and private docks reaching further outward to find a navigable depth. 

In response NewStudio sought to research and design alternative ways of engaging with White Bear Lake's changing shorelines.

Provocation: Do the falling lake levels on White Bear Lake offer an opportunity to redefine the use of the shoreline? Below are speculative designs by Adam Jarvi, Nate Roisen, and Wale Falade.

Speculating Alternatives for a Disappearing Lake

Roving Colony | Moving Shelter: Adam Jarvi

Whether it's on floats, wheels, skids or skis, these shelters can adjust to both seasonal conditions and owners' recreational needs. Saunas, changing rooms, tea houses, artist studios, ski shelters, sleeping porches—the possible uses of this roving colony of huts are endless. 

Swimmer's Pavilion on the Emergent Island: Nate Roisen

The Ramsey County Beach at the northeast end of White Bear Lake has been closed due to low water levels since 2009. Uncertain ownership of the island creates an opportunity to extend the Ramsey County park into the lake. Proximity to the shore allows the island to be reached by strong swimmers in the summer, as well as walkers, skiers, and skaters in the winter. Shallow zone around the island creates an opportunity for a boat anchorage.

The Neighborhood Interface: Wale Falade

At the moment, it cannot be fully determined if the ordinary water level of White Bear Lake will return, remain the same, or drop further. This folly seeks to address this uncertain future with a proposal that is adaptable to the natural context. It is amphibious in nature and can be readily programmed for land or water. On land, it could act as a temporary bandstand, a gathering space, storage space, or kids’ playhouse; on water, it can house the same land programs while also being possibly used as a fishing platform, a swimmers launch pad, a mobile dock, or an ice fish house in winter. 

Also, because it is modular and protractible, it presents the possibility for community plug-in wherein neighbors can arrange the units to create temporary space on land or water, summer or winter, or form an accessible tunnel from land to water. This provides the opportunity for increased community interaction in hybrid spaces that are semi-public but private at the same time.