Emigre Studios Rooftop

Me & Sam, London, 2012


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  • Plan    
  • Site axonometric    
  • Rooftop perspective    
  • Concept model    
  • Development detail    
  • Sketch visual    
  • Large Dining shed details    
  • Small Dining shed details    
  • DJ Shed Details    
  • Bar Shed details    
  • Bar Shed details    

Temporary bar and event dining space on the roof terrace of an arts studio building in Hackney incorporating the use of garden sheds to create private seating booths

Me & Sam were appointed by Émigré Studios to develop a proposal to activate a redundant terrace above their studio complex. Émigré provide affordable studio space for a number of arts and creative organisations in Hackney close to London Fields and Broadway Market.

The brief was to provide a flexible space that would animate the rooftop and accommodate a variety of uses. The main focus was a café and dining space to seat 100 guests, with the capacity to become a market, an outdoor cinema or even a yoga studio. The terrace is three-storeys up, sitting amongst the treetops overlooking the park and bounded by a railway line. The proposal had to respond to this very urban condition and allow for the unpredictability of a British Summer. The space opened over the Jubilee Weekend and hosted the 'God Save the Clam' dining event.

Me & Sam sought to capitalise on the relative privacy of the site and developed the proposal as a working garden. By imagining the rooftop as an allotment we aimed to replicate the meditative characteristics of nurturing plants, juxtaposing this with the bustle of London Fields.

Allotments are typically located in similar urban conditions and are defined by plots and sheds. We adapted this motif to delineate the functions of the space and provide shelter and privacy.

Working in close collaboration with a joinery company, Me & Sam adapted a standard 6x4 foot shed into large and small dining booths and created a bespoke solution for the bar and kitchen. The sheds are constructed from soft wood and clad in shiplap timber; external surfaces are finished in a dark stain, whilst the insides have integrated seating and are left untreated to provide a warmer character.

Orientated to take advantage of the generous views over the park, sheds are organised into clusters. This provides a range of intimate spaces and act as a buffer to the railway. This creates three distinct areas, with dining, bar and open space clearly marked with furniture and sheds.

All the furniture is reclaimed, the Robin Day plastic chairs were found dotted about the studios and the tables were reclaimed from a local school. Elsewhere palettes were re-appropriated to make benches.


  • Begun: May 2012
  • Completed: May 2012
  • Floor area: 300m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £8,000
  • Tender date: Apr 2012
  • Procurement: Contract Managment
  • Address: Emigre Studios, 274 Richmond Road, London, E8 3QW, United Kingdom

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