a hinge – a simple mechanical device that with a push of a finger can transform space – from a slight crack that allows air and light to pass through to a great shifting that opens and transforms space. Like a hinge, we believe that the best design solutions are simple and transformative. They should address the possibility of what could be while not ignoring what they are anchored to. Some solutions require a small shift and others something much larger.
Hinge studio was started partly out of a passion for adaptation and reuse – out of a desire to give old buildings a new life. Kate Cudney, Hinge’s founder grew up in the rust belt region of New York State – dilapidated barns and rusted out industrial buildings were the fuel of childhood imaginings. She fell in love with these structures. Structures built from necessity and then worn to an incredibly beautiful patina over time. She loved the way light shifted through a hayloft or the shadows cast by the ladders on an abandoned grain silo. Hinge was born from the desire to take these spaces and these imaginings and to give them back to the world.
We still do a large majority of our work on existing buildings. Older structures have a quality of construction, character and history that is very challenging to recreate in newer structures. As stewards of the planet and of the built environment, we love the challenge of rethinking existing spaces – of figuring out how to upgrade what is important without losing what is invaluable. We love that we preserve the wealth of embodied energy and resources in every existing building we work on.
As we have grown we have had the opportunity to work on a broader array of projects. We bring the lessons learned working in old buildings to this work – how to create structures that will last through time. Spaces that marry beauty and necessity. Like the simple hinge, we strive to create spaces anchored in a sense of place, and community and yet flexible enough to shift and grow with the people that occupy them. We strive to create buildings that will age gracefully and be responsible to the planet.
But as much as we love buildings, it’s the people that use them that truly fuels our work. We recognize how fortunate we are. What other profession gets to help people make a space to house their dreams? Whether it’s a business, or a home or a utilitarian structure, we strive to create spaces that are more about the people that coexist with them than the architect who had the good fortune to work on them. We always tell our clients that at the end of the day this is not our building. It is our client’s building and ultimately a building of the community and the world.
A great space is like a hinge; it should allow for shifting and change while maintaining a connection.