Lomax Studio in London by Critical Architecture Network.
Once an 18th-century industrial factory and wash-house, Critical Architecture Network (CAN) have designed a new artist studio for a sculptor and a printmaker nestled along a small industrial mews in New Cross, London.
To juxtapose the old and new character of the site, CAN have cleverly used the two volumes to represent the opposing scales of the artist’s work – the industrial and the domestic. Here, the tiled structure houses the smaller working areas as well as the kitchen and bathroom, while the larger volume contains the open working area. Externally the building presents itself as two separate studios, while internally, the two structures are unified with the same material palette.
To maximise space on a limited budget, the architects have used a combination of ‘off-the-shelf’ materials and those the clients had accumulated from their practice. CAN looked to use these materials in a way that elevated them from the ordinary to the ornamental – a theme which the practice has been exploring through other recent projects such as ‘The Blockshop’ at the RIBA. A mixture of new and old scaffolding components form the lightweight roof structure, which through its complexity becomes almost ornamental. Galvanised services sit on a muted concrete block to reduce visual distraction.
A bathroom cube is tiled inside and out. Externally, the same tiles, topped with red concrete copings, are used to clad the domestic volume. Industrial Steel Panels and concrete blocks signify the industrial shed. An Antique Pink arched entrance door and windows tie the structures together and represent the flashes of colour present in the artist’s work. The front of the studio can be completely shut down for security along the mews with all of the glass located to the rear opening onto the small courtyard garden. One high-level circular window punctuates the steel gable at the front.
The gabled forms take their cue from the generic industrial shed and the 18th-century wash-house once located on the site. The tiled gables are ornamented with a double crow step. The volumes are offset to create an external working area at the rear which also brings southern light into the kitchen through a set of double doors. Roof lights are arranged on the north facing pitches to bring diffused light into the large space.