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DesignObserved Observed Design

Studio as Research Lab A Barn-like Studio Filled with Sustainable Design Ideas

Courtesy of LineSync Architecture Studio

20 Studio Entry Photo Credit: Michael Shopenn


by Anita Rafael

othing good can come from finding out your beautiful old post and beam barn has been chewed up by swarms of carpenter ants. Or can it? Had it not been for an incurable infestation of these wood-boring insects in the 19th century barn that LineSync Architecture’s Julie Lineberger, owner, and Joseph Cincotta, principal architect, had intended to rehabilitate as their studio in Wilmington, the two would never have built the new structure, using materials and methods that have given them a prime marketing edge for their design services. “We planned to make the English barn our

workspace when we bought the residence on Castle Hill Road in Wilmington,” said Joseph Cincotta, “and we cried when we had to tear it down.” In 1996, the couple, husband and wife as well as business partners, started building a new studio that embodies the design philosophy that the firm applies to all its projects—sustainability harmonizing with beauty in everyday life. The building is 1,800 square feet on three levels. “We honored the design of the barn tradition,” Cincotta said. As with so many barns that are built into sloping terrain, there is an entrance at the lowest level, and finally there are the split halves of the upper level where barns commonly have separate side lofts. On the second level, LineSync’s seven associates work at their individual design computers at broad, wrap-around countertops, each given natural light and a framed eye-level view to the landscaped property beyond. Under the vaultedceiling in the center of the room, in the space that would have been the wide tractor aisle, they gather around a big, bright conference table to critique their projects. Above on the third level, at opposite ends of a long, high platform, Cincotta and Lineberger each have modestly-sized executive offices, spaces that mimic the two original lofts. “This studio is our laboratory,” Cincotta said. “When we built it, we experimented with the elements and systems we use in our other projects. It’s now our model for the kind of work we do.” Although the studio was a self-financed project and the costs were higher than other kinds of construction would have been at that time, Cincotta and Lineberger anticipated that the additional expenses would be justified by a return on their investment. Each choice of material or design element for the project had to carry signifi-

cant extras— more energy efficiency, long-term cost-savings, high sustainability factors, or deep, meaningful beauty. The studio has paid for itself in hard cash as well. “We’re saving about two-thirds of what we would have had to spend on utilities with conventional construction,” said Lineberger. It’s easy to see how. The large windows mean more daylight and less need for electrical lighting. Extreme insulation means less heat loss. During the warmer months, natural ventilation, shaded glazing, that same heavy insulation and a lightreflecting roof all prevent heat gain, keeping the interiors cooler. Add water-saving devices and low-maintenance, easy-to-clean surfaces inside and out, and the cost of use drops even more. Their architectural mantra is a simple refrain, applied not only in their own studio, but in the residences and commercial projects the firm undertakes. As Cincotta said, “It’s sustainability.” But, he is quick to add, not at any cost. “Sustainable,” he said, “is not sustainable unless it’s affordable. Good architecture and green choices should not be a luxury for only the wealthiest clients. It has to be something within reach of everyone.” To Cincotta and Lineberger it is a self-evident bill of rights—every client has an equal right to buildings with clean air, oceans of daylight, natural materials, non-toxic surfaces, ease of maintenance, comfortable surroundings and, above all else, beauty. ■ Reprint from Southern Vermont Arts & Living Magazine, Summer 2010 Design director: Marjorie Merena

To tour the LineSync Model Studio and Offices call Julie Lineberger at 802 464-2526, 14 Castle Hill, Wilmington, Vermont, 05363,

Julie and Joseph Studio Photo Credit: Michael Shopenn

Linesync Studio is a LEED certified building and is on the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association Annual Tour, Oct. 2, 2010 (LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is an internationally recognized green building certification system. Studio White Table Photo Credit: Michael Shopenn

Southern Vermont Arts & Living, Summer 2010, Studio as Research Lab  

LineSync Architecture Southern Vermont Arts & Living Summer 2010 Studio as Research Lab

Southern Vermont Arts & Living, Summer 2010, Studio as Research Lab  

LineSync Architecture Southern Vermont Arts & Living Summer 2010 Studio as Research Lab