The Long Barn Studio is located within mid-Bedfordshire, on the outskirts of Maulden, a small village.
Nicolas Tye Architects begun to out-grow an existing studio space within the director’s home (an existing barn which was converted in 2004) and the brief was to create a new-build studio space which could provide a comfortable, healthy and inspiring environment for up to 12 staff. The design must complement the existing structure of the barn and arable environment within which it sits.
The existing barn (which is only 20m away and also incorporates a contemporary architectural approach) provided the main planning constraint and it was essential that the new studio (both in scale and materiality) did not detract from the barn. In addition, part of the new structure would also partly lye outside of the residential curtilage in previous set-a-side arable farmland. After various negotiations with neighbours and the local planning authority, aided by the advice of a planning consultant, the design was unanimously approved by planning committee.
The budget for this build was £250,000, which equated to £1000m2. This meant that the scheme must be creative in order not to compromise on detail.
The studio is set down within the surrounding open landscape, and the subtle materials which are used in a simple way reflect this harmony. The concept of the design is based around an elegant glass, rectilinear box (which compliments the existing linear lines of the adjacent barn), which is enclosed at both ends with larch clad ‘book-ends’. The Larch is treated so weathering appears uniformed both externally and internally creating seamless lines. The ‘frame less’ glass panels allow high levels of natural daylight into the studio along the northern side and allow wide views of the surrounding landscape to become integrated into the studio environment. Along the southern elevation larch clad timber pods also punctuate the glass facades, which remove issues with overheating. Each pod has a dedicated use including an Architectural Library, reprographics area, toilets and meeting room. Cor-ten steel detailing is also used throughout the studio to reflect the original agricultural nature of the site and accentuates the smaller windows and linear roof line. Within the studio’s interior a continuous limestone floor enhances the main axis, and the space is broken up through a series of wenge ‘pods’ which contain ancillary elements including the kitchen, storage containing a materials and document library, and individual staff storage.
All external walls are built from 200mm solid block work, externally insulated and clad in larch, all the internal walls are blockwork. The glazing is 3.2 meter high This principle of thermal mass prevents the studio from rapidly heating up and cooling down, whilst also far exceeding the building regulation requirements. Various sustainable and healthy technologies are also incorporated, including a wind turbine, rainwater harvesting, compost facilities, staff vegetable garden, low energy centrally controlled lighting and underfloor heating system throughout, eco-paint and a central vacuum and air control system.
The building in itself is diverse in its architectural style for this area of Bedfordshire and this carries through into the diverse mix of staff who are employed. The space is both appealing to adults and children, who enjoy the freedom of the outside spaces.
The studio meets the current regulation under part M of the building regulations, and is designed to enable clients (and staff) to successfully use all the facilities. The internal plan is easily navigable with wide, designated access spaces within the open plan environment.
The studio has a purpose built kitchen to encourage staff to cater their own lunches, thus reducing off site travel at lunchtime and car usage. Full use of the outdoor environment is encourage with outdoor seating area, staff vegetable patch (to provide fresh food for the kitchen and flowers for reception) compost and water harvesting for vegetable patch. Within the studio we have a wide ranging recycling policy, incorporating composting and utilizing our old print outs as notepads.
We also have a staff panic alarm and buddy system for leaving the site.