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Morales Finch creates artist’s studio in Highlands barn

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Double-height top-lit studio space with bedroom mezzanine created in £70,000 refurb

Located on the edge of Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands and on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, an agricultural building has been converted into an artist’s studio.



Emerging practice Morales Finch, which is are based based in both Brussels and London, completed West Croftmere in two main phases on a limited budget.

At about 200 years old, the original building was constructed out of solid masonry and, through movement and erosion of structural elements, had fallen into disrepair. The primary task therefore involved replacing and insulating the building’s roof and floor to provide a base from which internal works could then take place on an incremental basis.



Divided into two main areas, the main spaces include a general store with an adjoining studio with direct internal access between the two. Within the studio space, a double-height volume and new rooflights offer natural light. A mezzanine overlooks this, accommodating a small bedroom. 

Since forming in 2016, the practice has worked for a growing number of cultural clients on the creation of studio, exhibition and temporary spaces, as well as private residences.

Architect’s view

The client, a painter, and the owner of the estate, provided a brief that had two principal criteria. The first was to stabilise the building through the repair and replacement of its primary elements and the introduction of insulation and utilities. The second was to convert the barn into a studio, not only for personal use, but also as the potential base for a residency programme.

In doing so their aim was to illustrate how buildings of this type, of which there are many examples locally, often unused and abandoned, can be adapted and utilised in order to avoid them falling into disrepair, whilst providing an unfamiliar use of the space that could potentially serve the local community.

Emilie Morales and Tom Finch, directors, Morales Finch

Mf c proposed gf plan

Mf c proposed gf plan

Proposed ground floor plan

Project data

Start on site February 2018
Completion November 2018
Gross internal floor area 180m²
Form of contract or procurement route Self-build
Construction cost £70,000
Construction cost per m² £390
Architect Morales Finch
Client Private
Structural engineer Ruben Wood
Traffic consultant Traffic Data Collection
Drainage consultant Arch Anderson
Building inspector Principal Building Standards Surveyor, Highland Council
Bat surveyor Coachman Bat Consultancy
CAD software used Vectorworks
Annual CO2 emissions 54kg/m² (est)

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