The transition from dreaming spires to floating outhouse. It sounds like an incongruent concept, after all one is a romantic cliché and the other a tangible and functional reality. This thought represents the conception of The Studio and the beginning of the journey.
As with all projects it was described in its infancy by a phrase. In this instance ‘a box of ideas’ was Giulio’s starting point. Initially the design was modular in construction with a view that there would be no limits and it could be placed anywhere. At this stage Mark busied himself with building maquettes of the original design to explore and interrogate its feasibility. The plan was submitted and promptly rejected and this is the point where a pragmatic technical approach was applied to the design.
It became apparent that the framework for the modular concept was not viable but we remained committed to the original principle of having positive and negative space. Another aspect of the build that was intrinsic to the integrity of the original design was the idea of a raised or floating structure which pays respect to The Studio being placed anywhere without limits. It also suggests a delicate touch rather than a heavy imposition on the sensitive context of the conservation area. The idea of the burnt ash deck and floor plate represents an opening, perhaps to the box of ideas or a visual representation of a gang-plank or structural invitation into the inner space.
The open gable dictated the choice of materials in terms of being utilitarian and functional with a view to clearly exposing the magnificence of the structure. The fully glazed gable proved to be challenging but also provided a basis for all other considerations and decisions. The initial idea of employing roof truss technology enabled us to create volume without intermediary supports. In terms of the workmanship, everything in The Studio is hand crafted and even the desks and sink have been modified to suit the space.
From the beginning there has been a DIY approach to all aspects of the project so everyone could be involved. Mark, Giulio and Paul painstakingly nailed the tiles to the walls and slowly the much loved rosso corsa breather membrane disappeared. Paul spent many weekends working on the internal carpentry and installing the kitchen and water closet. The rudimentary and flexible shelving system was Mark’s idea and adhered to the floating concept and the minimalist aesthetic of the space. There were numerous trips to suppliers and manufacturers and much lifting and carrying. Everyone contributed an inordinate amount of thought, time and energy to the project.
We tuned the building program to suit time restraints and budget. The portal frame was constructed off site to reduce labour costs and it arrived in it’s entirety in a very dramatic fashion. The building materials such as the scaffold boards for the floor and the external tiles were sourced locally and many adventures were had in the process! The minimal finishes perpetuated the rudimentary and honest aesthetic that fed through to the modest finishes and applications. The Studio represents the materialisation of a tremendous collaborative effort over an extended time frame. We have had the good fortune and opportunity to work with many groups and individuals that have input their much valued skills, expertise and energy to the project. The Studio now works as a fully functional and practical space that inspires and houses productivity and creativity in equal measures. This is only the beginning, watch this space...