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Invisible Studio gets the OK for £6.7m Somerset arts space

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Piers Taylor’s Invisible Studio, working with LT Studio Landscape Architects, has been given the go-ahead for a new cultural workspace in Watchet, West Somerset

PROJECT DATA

The 1,094m² scheme, known as The Foundry, will house art studios, a gallery, shared workspaces, studios, maker spaces, a print workshop and a café. It will also become the new home of the Contains Art facility, a not-for-profit social enterprise set up in 2012.

The project overlooking Watchet’s marina is part of a wider regeneration strategy being put into motion by local community interest company The Onion Collective.

Since first being unveiled in late 2016, the scheme has increased in scale and cost. Taylor told the AJ: ’There was an initial working budget of £2 million for the key spaces, but the brief expanded to tie in with a number of additional facilities such as a paper mill, a print studio and expanded gallery.

‘We’ve also added in a whole chunk of landscape work, which will make the coastal path next to the new facility accessible, and provided new marina facilities.

’We also carried out ground investigation and there’s contaminated land we need to deal with via remediation.’

Peter Clegg, who chaired the design review panel which looked at the scheme, wrote in support of the scheme, saying: ’The exuberance, idiosyncrasy and charm carry the day and the scheme must go ahead just as it is. It is the result of an admirable community effort and is something unique and wonderful.’

Originally set to start on site in January this year, the development was delayed, in part, due to a complex land transfer from West Somerset District Council.

Work will now begin in June 2019 and complete in summer 2020. 

The Foundry, Watchet by Invisible Studio

The Foundry, Watchet by Invisible Studio

The Foundry, Watchet by Invisible Studio

The Foundry, Watchet by Invisible Studio

The Foundry, Watchet by Invisible Studio

The Foundry, Watchet by Invisible Studio

The Foundry, Watchet by Invisible Studio

The Foundry, Watchet by Invisible Studio

Project data 

Location Watchet, West Somerset
Type of project cultural 
Client Onion Collective CIC
Architect Invisible Studio
Landscape architect LT Studio
Planning consultant Not yet appointed
Structural engineer Momentum
M&E consultant Not yet appointed
Quantity surveyor Clark Associates
Planning supervisor Not yet appointed
Lighting consultant Not yet appointed
Main contractor Not yet appointed
Funding Grant funded
Appointment invited competition
Tender date April 2019
Start on site date June 2019
Completion date July 2020
Contract duration 13 months
Gross internal floor area 1,094m²
Form of contract and/or procurement Not known
Total cost £6.7 million

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