'Water is the driving force of all nature.'
Leonardo da Vinci

Newbuild Studio - near Lechlade, Oxfordshire - 2011-12

Summary: A newbuild structure of stone with a Cotswold stone tiled roof, incorporating a double garage, a guest suite and a Studio/Workroom within the roofspace.

Detail: This project involves the replacement of an existing double garage with an enlarged structure incorporating additional accommodation. On the ground floor there is to be a double garage approximately the same size as the existing, but in addition there is to be a guest suite incorporating an ensuite shower room. At first floor level there is to be a Studio/Workroom suitable for up to four workspaces.

The additional accommodation, particularly that within the roof, is made possible by a moderate increase in the footprint of the older structure, plus the use of a steeply-pitched roof of Cotswold stone. The roof incorporates four large Conservation Rooflights which lie inconspicuously flush to the rooftiles and provide much of the light and ventilation to the Studio.

An unusual feature of the structure is the tall bay window which faces almost due West over agricultural fields. This bay provides natural light to the staircase and entrance lobby area and gives long views to the countryside from the Studio area at first floor level.

Tall bay windows - like those of Voysey, Baillie Scott, Webb, Lutyens and C.R. Mackintosh are recognisably 'Arts and Crafts' in character. I was very conscious of this in designing this structure as it is sited on the edge of the village of Kelmscott, the home of William Morris. William Morris, while not the founder of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain was a very important practitioner, leading light and inspirational figure in the movement. He was hugely important to it/in it. I wanted the Studio building, facing as it does down a well-known public footpath into the village, to signal to the walker was entering a special place with a particular history. I wanted, in other words, for it to be a kind of gateway to the home of, and also a kind of homage to this remarkable man who was once the centre of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain.

The Studio structure has floors incorporating underfloor pipework fed by a ground source heat pump. It has exposed truss and rafter ceilings with timber boarding over. The entrance area outside the Studio is to be contained and protected from strong southwesterly winds by a stone columnar wall and timber screen immediately outside the entrance door.

Planning Permission was obtained in May 2006. Construction was completed in December 2010.

Southwest view of the completed building seen from across the adjoining field.
Image of the West elevation with the project nearing completion. This view shows the close correlation the CAD model (next image) can give to the end result.
An image of the West elevation of the CAD model of the project. This model gives a good idea of the form and character of the building to be constructed - this view was generated long before construction began.
An early sketch of the Studio block. Here there was a break in height between the Garage and Studio elements. Later the break was dropped in favour of a more integral approach.
Northwest aerial view of the structure. The building definitely 'faces' West with its bay window there and the hipped reverse roof end. The kink that the plan takes to follow the boundary can be seen clearly in this view.
Construction photograph. External stone column under construction.
An image of the west gable wall from inside. The roof structure is fully exposed, and the wood was given a natural claywash finish.
Considerable effort was put into bringing a sense of 'repose' to the West elevation. These were some of the rejected ideas.
An aerial perspective of the 3D model showing the beginnings of the roof structure being erected. All of the roof trusses shown here are designed to be seen as well as...
...all of the rafters. The roof structure bends in the middle (by 9 degrees) as the building follows the boundary rather than being strictly rectangular. The plan was turned rather than kept rectangular to make the building fit the site more 'organically'
The roof of the Studio is unusual in being gabled on one side (the West side) but hipped on the other, as well as being kinked in the middle. The hipped East end is intended to minimise the presence of the building within the site.
The complex roof structure from inside at the kink point of the plan. All lighting is ultra low energy LED, and sails are used as space dividers rather than stud or glass partitions.