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Scottish practice Sutherland & Co designs its own studio for £60k

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A former antique shop on the site of an old ‘wynd’ has been opened up to create a permanent home for the practice

Sutherland & Co has appropriated an existing building on North Berwick’s high street, creating a ground-floor shop unit and new studio above for itself. Occupying a former ‘wynd’ that once ran straight down to the beach, the 1950s structure is narrow and deep in plan, with the site extending to 45m.

Studio space aj04

Studio space aj04

The redevelopment of the building – which has previously been a laundry, café, electrician’s business and antique shop – has substantially opened up the interiors of both floors. The 3.5m-wide first-floor studio incorporates oversized cross-laminated spruce slider door panels, allowing the main studio and meeting space to be closed off when required. A Troldtekt wood fibre ceiling provides a unifying element to the scheme. 

The removal of an existing fire escape to the rear opens up the site for further development in the future.

Studio space aj16

Studio space aj16

Architect’s view

Having worked from a succession of temporary office spaces, ranging from a former golf club factory to an old pottery workshop, we were keen to find a more stable home. We also wanted a space that would have a promotional function – expressing our identity and values to potential clients and to a wider audience. 

Infilling a former ‘wynd’ that was incredibly narrow, the building is something of an anomaly on the North Berwick high street. Its distinctive identity has some merits but the associated constraints have resulted in compromises. For example, insufficient frontage for a second entrance meant that the first-floor studio is entered through the ground-floor shop unit. For which, we were fortunate to find a tenant with a relatively compatible business. 

The project was effectively self-built, delivered through a parallel development company. This gave us a lot of flexibility to adjust and fine tune aspects of the design while the work was under way. Investing our time and energy in the project also helped to get the most out of a relatively modest budget.

Robin Sutherland, co-director, Sutherland & Co

Sc studio plans

Sc studio plans

Project data

Start on site January 2018
Completion July 2018
Gross internal floor area 55m² (first floor studio); 55m² (ground floor shop)
Construction cost £60,000
Cost per m² £545
Architect Sutherland & Co
Client Sutherland & Co
Main contractor Waterton Property
CAD software used Vectorworks

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