CASS Studio

Unit 7, The Cass, Huntingdon, 2019


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CASS Studio_01_David Grandorge 

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  • CASS Studio_01_David Grandorge    
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  • CASS Studio_03_David Grandorge    
  • CASS Studio_04_Oskar Proctor    
  • CASS Studio_05_Oskar Proctor    
  • CASS Studio_06_David Grandorge    
  • CASS Studio_07_David Grandorge    
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  • CASS Studio_10_Oskar Proctor    
  • Cass Studio_Drawing 01_Daisy Zhai    
  • Cass Studio_Drawing 02_Daisy Zhai    
  • Cass Studio_Drawing 03_Laurence Hiller    
  • Cass Studio_Drawing 04_Oliver Carter    
  • Cass Studio_Drawing 05_Oliver Carter    

The Cass Studio is a radically low carbon, highly flexible space that can be built anywhere

The project was conceived within the parameters of the caravan act, meaning in most contexts it does not require planning permission. Designed by students from Diploma Unit 7 at the CASS and built by them in just 12 days it is an exemplar of not only low embodied energy design but the capacity of students to take on and deliver live projects as part of their education.

The design is 30m2 prototype for a scalable studio built on a budget of £10,000. The design can be adapted with minimal modification to be situated at multiple sites and hosts multiple programmes including living, working and education. Imagined in section, the form drew inspiration from cantilevered barns traditionally used for the storage of agricultural produce. The building is raised from the ground maximising valuable covered external space and creating a belvedere to survey the farm from above the line of hemp. The minimal material palette consists of cast in situ Hempcrete; a spruce stud and plywood superstructure; Accoya® acetylated softwood footings and custom-made windows, door and stair (raw timber provided in kind); wood fibre insulation and hemp fibre bio-resin corrugated cladding sheets developed by Margent Farm.

Less than a cubic metre of concrete was required for pad foundations with the potential for this to be completely eliminated. The building is effectively carbon negative, with a biomass stove and solar power and being built predominately from carbon capturing, grown materials. The unit was led by David Grandorge and Paloma Gormley of Practice Architecture. The project was established within the context of Practice Architecture’s research into natural materials and low carbon construction techniques with projects such as Flat House. Engineering consultancy came from Structure Workshop and a hempcrete workshop run by Will Stanwix. The client, Margent Farm, is an industrial hemp farm developing hemp-based products including the cladding for the building.

Photography by David Grandorge & Oskar Proctor


  • Begun: Nov 2018
  • Completed: Apr 2019
  • Floor area: 30m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £10,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Address: Margent Farm, Huntingdon, PE28, United Kingdom

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