This private painting studio is situated at Allerston on the southern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors national park.
To create the studio, Hugh Strange Architects renovated a small, dilapidated outbuilding, originally used to house livestock and set back from the long rows of houses that are strung out along the village’s single street. The building is surrounded by garden space that opens out on to pasture fields.
The structure’s existing thick stone walls have been retained and made good in places, with a lime-wash applied to the rough internal faces. In contrast, the floor and roof have both been replaced and insulation added, while new windows and a door have been placed within the existing structural openings. A large rooflight in the north-facing pitch evenly illuminates the internal space.
The interior comprises a single room, with a mezzanine providing either storage or a sleeping platform. This level, the ladder that serves it, the roof structure and a long line of built-in bookshelves, are all constructed in Douglas Fir timber. Located off-centre within the room, a cast-concrete column supports one corner of the mezzanine and rises to prop the ridge beam part way along its span.
Hugh Strange Allerston Studio DG 28 2
Source: David Grandorge
The project was completed by a team of two builders, a father and son, who live in the neighbouring village. The father, a mason, repaired the existing monolithic stone walls while the son, a joiner, completed all the timberwork. The two men worked together to construct the large concrete column that stands in the centre of the space. The close linkage between the construction and the design of the building, informed by both the immediacy of the procurement and the use of traditional skills that were readily to hand, lends a direct, elemental quality to the architecture. A reduced palette of natural materials and simple, unpretentious construction acknowledge the intrinsic value of that which is well made.
Alongside the simplicity of the construction, there is nevertheless a sophistication and ambiguity at play; the broad column supports the mezzanine floor, steps and changes shape, running to the ceiling to prop the ridge beam at mid-point. One element doing two jobs. Certainly the roof span is reduced and therefore the ridge beam size minimised, but it’s not purely rational, and there’s also a nod towards the earlier incarnation of the barn whose roof collapsed under the weight of the tiles. Similarly, the modesty of the building’s external appearance disguises the dramatic character of the transformed interior space, which is both intense and dynamic. In the middle of the plan, the central column provides an almost totemic focus, around the base of which the floor tiles rotate, and on diagonally opposite sides of which the mezzanine and rooflight stand in counterbalanced spatial juxtaposition.
Hugh Strange, Hugh Strange Architects
Source: Hugh Strange Architects
Start on site November 2015
Completion March 2016
Gross internal floor area 29m2
Gross (internal + external) floor area 37m2
Construction cost £33,675
Construction Cost per m2 £1,161
Form of contract or procurement route JCT Minor Works
Architect Hugh Strange Architects
Main Contractor Fred & Simon Grimmer
Approved building inspector Jhai
CAD software used Vectorworks