Lookout Studio

SCA, Oxford, 2018


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Paola Sassi     Download Original

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Lookout Studio engages with the challenge of achieving high quality small spaces for working and living.

Built on the footprint of a demolished garage, it generates a sequence of spatial experiences in just 21sqm. Opening up to the garden, it acts like a bird hide; the viewer inside hidden by the reflection from the glass can enjoy the urban wildlife.

The visual contact with nature, the natural materials and the super-insulated (U-values 0.13-0.14W/m²K) and naturally ventilated space create an oasis of quiet restfulness.

Currently used as a design studio, Lookout Studio is also envisaged as a micro home and proposes an approach to providing affordable housing by infilling sub-urban pockets of land with healthy uplifting livable spaces.

Lookout Studio responds to its context by tilting away from its neighbour, opening up to the garden and restricting its height by dropping the floor below ground level. The construction adjacent the neighbour offers the solidity of a rendered block wall while the remaining timber-framed structure is insulated with timber fibre insulation, which helps moderate humidity, and clad with slates and reclaimed timber cladding.

Internally, the white waxed birch ply and the plastered walls reflect the light from the windows and rooflight and a blue stained ply floor grounds the space.

Practical needs are addressed with plenty of storage, a small shower room, connections for a kitchen and a storage/sleeping platform. The effectiveness of small living spaces in providing more resource-sustainable solutions is being examined by monitored the whole-life carbon and air quality and testing the use of local heating systems (heated chair). But it is also the longevity of buildings that makes them sustainable and for that to be achieved a building has be and feel just right, which is the aim of Lookout Studio.


  • Begun: Nov 2015
  • Completed: Feb 2018
  • Floor area: 21m2
  • Sectors: Office, Residential
  • Tender date: Feb 2015
  • Procurement: JCT Home owner contract
  • CO2 Emissions: 779kg/m2/year
  • Address: Oxford, OX43, United Kingdom

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