Located within a non-descript industrial building along a commercial corridor in Ferndale, Michigan, Effigy Studios is a prime example of what can be achieved through exceptional collaboration between a design-based architectural practice and pragmatic technical experts in the multifaceted field of acoustics and mechanical engineering. The result is one of the nation’s premier live recording studios where the technical complexities of electrical, mechanical and isolation systems were seamlessly integrated into a morphology that is a direct interpretation of how sound operates in an optimal condition. From the exterior there is little to no indication upon approach to the project of the internal interventions that create the functional spaces. The existing elevation has been maintained but the building effectively turns itself inside out. The entry space within the building is conceived as a conceptual exterior space. The true front elevation and major entrance threshold is approached only after stepping through the initial skin of the existing entrance.
Programmatically,the studio is subdivided between a Core Program and Support Zone. Comprising the main core of Effigy Studio is an acoustically isolated, 25’ x 40’ ControlRoom which functions as the epicenter of the facility, integrating strategic visual connections to the adjacent 3,400 square foot Tracking Room, which is dedicated to the audio recording of bands, orchestras and choirs. The Tracking room is supported by smaller program insertions (Vocal and Drum booths) which create focused moments within the room design, simultaneously addressing the quality of the space and technical acoustic needs. The Vocal Isolation Booth significantly reduces ambient and acoustic noise during recording while theDrum Isolation Booth affords loud live sound space for drum recording. A Machine Room creates an isolated zone for the control room electronic equipment while the sound lock provides acoustic control between the Tracking Room andControl Room. The 3,450 square foot support zone neighbors the Tracking Room and consists of a large Event space which is employed as both an entry volume and an interstitial space, non-programmed transitional space. The Event space remains isolated from the adjacent core function of the studio and was formed through an additive/subtractive methodology. A new masonry wall was constructed across the exterior opening of the original building truck loading area capturing an internalized courtyard. The adjacent exterior masonry walls were subsequently removed and replaced with full height glazing which provides natural day light deep into the internalized setting of the Support Zone. This space is also inclusive of an intimate studio Lounge, an administrative Office and a back-lit Toilet Room core constructed from translucent polycarbonate panels. A dynamic 3-winged canopy constructed from Baltic birch veneer plywood and gypsum board marks the threshold which provides access to the recording studio tracking room.
-Photography by Justin Maconochie