The Studio

COAL architecture & interior design, Cornwall, 2021


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All photographs Logan Irvine-MacDougall     Download Original

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Located a mile from the North Atlantic coast - within the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site - the studio sits on the edge of an old miner's smallholding, which over time has been consumed with woodland.

The studio replaces a dilapidated garage of which the footprint is retained, but sunken down, and the principal elevation is flipped so that it forms a relationship with the woodland to the north-east of the building. The form and materiality of the building were influenced by the simple agricultural forms found in the area and their monosyllabic material approach.

The studio was a self-build project and each element of the fabric was chosen to minimise the environmental impact. The foundations are created using precast concrete pedestals, which reduce the concrete usage by over 90 per cent in comparison to a conventional raft slab; they can also be easily disassembled and reused at the end of the building's life.

The frame is constructed out of timber which is infilled with wood-fibre insulation and wrapped with a wood-fibre sheathing board. The structure is then clad in cleft chestnut pales, a highly sustainable English alternative to ubiquitous imported timber cladding. Small retaining walls were constructed out of 4-inch posts salvaged from the old garage structure, and the excavated stone was used to build garden walls and reinstate a Cornish hedge.

The interior reflects the intense colours of the Cornish coastline: cliffs saturated red with metallic ore, glossy dark rock pools, and the vivid flowers of gorse and heather.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Oct 2020
  • Completed: May 2021
  • Floor area: 11m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £10,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Oct 2020
  • Procurement: Self-build
  • Address: St Agnes, Cornwall, TR5 0PN, United Kingdom

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