Direct commission for a new artists’ studio and workshop, and an extension to the existing Mill house, in the setting of a 17th century Grade II listed water Mill located on the River Test in Hampshire.
The new studio building creates a low, simple contemporary silhouette, set against a backdrop of mature trees and reverential to the long plan form of the existing Mill building. The building itself is straightforward and functional – two generous work spaces are served by a series of ancillary rooms, and at each end of the building covered areas protect outdoor work spaces.
The building will be constructed primarily in timber as a simple structural frame clad with vertical sycamore boards. This is partly a response to the wooded setting, but also reflects an ambition for low embodied energy, and a design, which can be constructed swiftly to minimise disruption to the sensitive ecology of the site. Internally, the design creates no-frills workspaces with hard-wearing painted concrete floors, and exposed blockwork for the ancillary spaces.
As part of the proposed works the existing house will be refurbished and extended. Although different, the intention is that the two parts of the project – studio and mill extension – will relate closely to one another other across the existing garden via their overhanging roof forms and timber materiality.
Obtaining planning approval for the project brought a number of challenges. The existing property is listed and located on the edge of a site of special scientific interest. The roof space of the mill is a roosting site for bats. The design process has been informed by thorough heritage and ecological appraisal and has involved close dialogue with the conservation team of the local council.
Design and Planning 2019-20 Construction 2021-22