Lantern House Studio

Alex Oliver Associates, Manningford Abborts, 2017


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  • Exterior    
  • Studio in Garden    
  • Front Elevation    
  • Interior with Furniture    
  • Clerestory windows and steels    
  • Roof Eaves    
  • Interior     
  • Front Elevation    
  • Plan    
  • Section    
  • Side Elevation    
  • Site Plan    
  • Working Detail    

A garden studio to act as an office, relaxation space, and room to showcase the client's collection of Victorian Gothic furniture.

Alex Oliver Associates designed Lantern House Studio for the client James Joll. The studio is in the garden of the client’s private house in Wiltshire.

The client specified a calm space for contemplation and relaxation and a modern enclosure which would act as a miniature ‘museum’ housing a collection of Victorian Gothic furniture. Internally, the studio is an understated and subtle backdrop, designed from the very start to frame and emphasise the drama of the dark and ornate items within. Externally, dark grey stack bonded bricks are set into a light lime mortar which was chosen to emphasise the crisp grid of the brickwork. Natural flint panels give a contrasting texture and lightness of tone and pay homage to the existing house.

Dark grey framed clerestory glazing offers the impression of a ‘floating’ roof, a blade, sailing over the enclosure. An expressed square section steel frame has been used to support the roof and stabilise the walls. The brick and flint are deliberately expressed as being non-structural panels through the use of stack bonding and their visual separation from the roof.

The project aims to capture the ‘zen’ of a simple but beautiful brick panel as the English equivalent of a Japanese shoji screen. Every brick remains whole, although on returns bricks have been rotated to present a header, an end view to balance the symmetry of the side panels. Displaying the delicateness of a grid through a heavy and robust material has provided some architectural fun and uniqueness to the client’s conceptual starting point, a Modernist garden pavilion.

No major planning constraints were identified, other than a limit to height in order to reduce visual impact from the public road. The build took approximately 16 weeks.


  • Begun: Aug 2016
  • Completed: Jan 2017
  • Floor area: 37m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £90,000
  • Tender date: Jun 2016
  • Procurement: RIBA Domestic Building Contract 2014 (with Contractors Design) Edition
  • Address: Lantern House, Manningford Abborts, SN9 6HY, United Kingdom

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