The Long Barn Studio is located within Mid-Bedfordshire, on the outskirts of the village of Maulden. Nicholas Tye Architecture 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 a team of twelve.
One of the key design philosophies was to harmonize and complement the existing structure of the barn, the ‘farm-stead’ and arable environment within 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 the scale and materiality) did not detract from this historic existing structure. In addition, part of the new structure would also partly sit outside of the building cartilage in the previous use set-a-side arable farmland.
After various pre-application supportive discussion with the local councilors, parish council and neighbors, the local panning authority, aided by advice of a planning consultant, unanimously approved the design at planning committee.
The studio itself is set down within the surrounding open landscape, and the subtle materials which are used in a simple way reflect the local 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 s enclosed at both ends with larch clad ‘book-ends’. The Larch is treated so weathering appears uniformed both externally and internally creating seamless visual lines.
The ‘frame-less’ glass panels allow high level of natural daylight into the studio along the northern side and allow wide views of 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 picture windows and linear roof line. Within the studio’s interior a continuous limestone floor enhances the main axis, and the space is broken up trough a series of wenge ‘pods’ which contain ancillary elements including the kitchen, storage including a materials and document library, and individual staff storage.
All external walls are built from 200mm solid block work. This principle of thermal mass prevents the studio from rapidly heating up and cooling down. The building far exceeds the various buildings regulation requirements. Various sustainable and healthy technologies are also incorporated, including a wind turbine, rainwater harvesting, reed bed sewage, compost facilities, staff vegetable garden, low energy centrally controlled lighting and underfloor heating system throughout, eco / organic paint, a central vacuum and a combined heat exchange air source heat pump supplying natural fresh air. The scheme has created an inspiring and encompassing work environment, which has meant that the practice has continued to grow and retain its staff, outside of the usual urban location.
The Long Barn Studio provides a vital innovative hub for 12 aspiring architects and assistant architects in a inspiring young, multi-cultural inclusive environment.
Location: Maulden, Bedfordshire, UK
Architect: Nicolas Tye Architects
Structural Engineer: Akera Engineers
Planning Consultant: Phillips Planning Services
Lighting: Modular Lighting Instruments
Roofing sub-contractor: Peters Roofing contractors Ltd
Roofing glazing: Glazing Fabrications Specialists Ltd
Heating Contractor: Multibeton Ltd
Gross Floor Area: 220 sqm
Treated Floor Area: 178 sqm
Status: Completed 2007
Photographer: Nerida Howard
RIBA National Award 2009
CPRE (Campaign for the Rural protection of England) Regional- Best Commercial Project 2009
Design Week Awards- Best Commercial Project 2009
Creative East Awards- Best Workspace Environment 2009
LABC (Local Authority Building Control) Regional- Best Commercial Project under £1million 2009
RIBA East- Spirit of Ingenuity- Best Commercial Project 2008
Bedfordshire Association of Architects- Best Commercial Project 2008