DarkMatter, a minimalist garden studio designed by Hyper_ Studio in Tring, Hertfordshire, UK, is a tranquil, spacious and sustainable workspace.

It stands out with its beautiful, moody façade, made of 850 scales of charred timber, and its ‘light chimneys’ that mimic dappled sunlight. Carefully dismantled and reused 95% of the initial structure, sourced materials from within a 10 mile radius, and insulated it with sheep’s wool and wood fibre, DarkMatter is a great example of circular economy principles.

About DarkMatter

Hyper_ Studio Transforms Old Suburban Garage into a Unique Garden Office

Located in Hertfordshire, UK, Hyperspace Studio have transformed an ordinary suburban garage into a tranquil and spacious studio workspace. The brief for the 35m2 (3,800 sq ft) space included the need for a design that complemented virtual working, with textured backgrounds and a variety of places to sit and work.

A Moody Façade

Aptly named ‘Dark Matter’, the studio’s façade features 850 scales made of charred timber – a Japanese process called Shou Sugi Ban – which provide each square with subtle charred patterns, depending on the intensity of the heat used to treat the wood. These gaps act as a ‘bug hotel’, fostering biodiversity in the garden.

Light and Warm Interior

The light and warm interior contrasts with the black façade, with white oiled timber rafters and pale poplar plywood panels lining the walls. Two ‘light chimneys’ hang from the roof with a perforated pattern that mimics dappled sunlight.

Sustainability at its Core

Creating a sustainable design was integral to the project. An impressive 95% of the initial structure was reused in the final design, including steel lintels, block work and roof timbers, limiting the amount of waste sent to landfill. Any new timber was sustainably sourced, and the studio is insulated with sheep’s wool, wood fibre and recyclable foil-based blankets teamed with triple glazed windows and skylights. To reduce embodied carbon, the majority of materials were procured from within a 10 mile radius.

Client and Architect Reaction

The project’s client, Wayne Euston-Moore, said, “My expectations have been well and truly exceeded with this home studio. It provides an amazing ‘headspace’ which is inspiring yet calm, and it feels like you’re in a perfectly insulated space yet connected to the outside with ample natural light. Sustainability is very important to me, and the building is a great example of clever design, creativity and problem-solving to reuse materials and source locally.”

Hyper_ Founder and Architect, Olli Andrew, said of the project, “Outdoor garden studios don’t need to be generic boxes but can be garden features, and this studio is a great example of how to reimagine an existing building into an inspiring and purposeful piece of architecture. This project’s beauty is in the craft, space and light, and with its connection to nature, it’s an inspired place to work.”

Continuing a Sustainable Approach

In addition to the Dark Matter garden studio, Hyper_ is continuing to pioneer a more sustainable approach to architecture through the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. The studio has several UK projects in the pipeline, including a home extension inspired by the film-making process.

Photography by Simon Kennedy

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