253 - The Studios 


Suffolk, UK


Project Team:
G.C Robertson & Associates Ltd.

Main Contractor:                  
Robert Norman Construction

Peter Cook

Winner - RIBA East Awards 2015

‘The Studios’ are two new multi use studios built within a mature landscaped garden on an existing residential plot. The twinned studios are located remotely from the main house and configured to create a tranquil, contemplative space in the garden.

Our design approach takes advantage of the existing site topography, orientation and mature planting to utilize the natural daylight, minimize the impact of direct sunlight, reduce the visual impact to the surrounding area and create beautifully framed views of the ever changing gardens and sky. The clients wanted the buildings to be experienced as part of the journey through the gardens.

The brief from our client was to create two separate 40 and 60sq/m multi functional studio spaces set within the existing landscape and replacing an existing dilapidated workshop and garage. The existing site topography was to remain unchanged with the concept of the studios seemingly touching the ground lightly. With the Studios conceived as being a retreat, the approach to them being low maintenance was also key to fulfilling the brief.

Low energy consumption is achieved through the use of a high level of insulation and the incorporation of electrical panel heaters that are only in operation when the buildings are in use. All rainwater is diverted into to the existing balance pond.

The building fabric is formed from a thermally efficient timber and steel framed construction. Internally the Studios are finished with robust painted chipboard linings and externally with corrugated fibre cement board. Historically our clients family are deeply routed in the supply and construction of corrugated iron buildings of the early 1900’s such as churches, huts etc and this is referenced with the use of the corrugated panels that also relate the studios contextually to the many agricultural outbuildings in the area and create a modern vernacular language.We were asked to look at renovating and extending an existing 4-bedroom house on long north/south axis site in Surrey. The existing house had a very poor connection to a fantastic rear garden. The plot is on the bend of the road and causes the house to sit at an angle to the long rear garden, which for us created an interesting dynamic and great opportunity.

Out approach with the clients has been to stretch a new ground floor extension across the width of the site, maximising the space to the east as it opens up into the garden. A new lower garden studio has been set into the garden to create a stand-alone workspace, giving a different perspective and orientation to the main house. A new Main Bedroom has then been added at First Floor Level, set back from the edge to maintain privacy from below and linked into the retained circulation.

A new extensive planting scheme will be incorporated into the new works to soften the new buildings into the extended garden. The new buildings will be constructed from a contrasting light grey brick and sedum roofs proposed for the garden studio and extending ground floor extensions.