Artist William Monk (Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam) purchased this south London warehouse building as a place to live and work in 2009. The building’s main attractions were the generous ceiling height and excellent natural light that are essential to the large landscape paintings he is noted for.
For several years, Monk lived and worked in the building in an ad- hoc manner with his wife Clemence, but with the arrival of their first child imminent, they sought a more formal distinction between the living and working parts of their home.
Dingle Price Architects’ solution took advantage of the existing mezzanine to create a distinct threshold that subdivides the warehouse into two approximately equal halves. The design proposed that the residential half, in effect, became a two storey house which appears to sit within the industrial building. The front façade of this house overlooks and animates the studio space which attains the character of a small piazza or garden,
a feeling further enhanced by the large landscape paintings in progress.
The spatial organisation of the interior draws on the classical heritage and symmetrical nature of the industrial building to provide a series of interconnected rooms of varied scale and proportion.
Whilst the residence can be entirely or partially closed off from the studio when necessary, opening the doors and shutters reveals scenic views and routes through this internalised landscape.
With the intention of heightening the spatial drama of the interior, the material palette is suppressed, consisting primarily of painted plaster, and both painted and unpainted planks of southern yellow pine. This tactic serves also to focus attention on Monk’s paintings, which as well as inhabiting the studio space figure alongside the works of other artists within the residence.
Entering the building from the street, a compact lobby leads directly into the double height studio space which is filled by the numerous artworks in progress and their associated paraphernalia. One looks up from the studio to the paired shuttered windows in the façade of the residence, and to the two symmetrically placed doorways at its corners which link the studio to the generous open plan living space. The plan of the living room is orchestrated by the two unfinished southern yellow pine objects that sit at opposing ends of the space; The kitchen, and the upwards staircase. The staircase gives onto
a centralised landing that is lit by the round feature window of the original warehouse. This space offers a pair of doors to two similarly arranged bedrooms which feature skylights as well as the internal windows giving views back down to the studio below.
Monk and Price are currently in dialogue about a second studio project, this time in the south west of England.