Best Small Project
Winner: Comet Street Studio, London, UK by dRMM Architects
dRMM was commissioned to build an artisit's studio on a backstreet in London's Deptford, on a site that was then being used as a scaffolders' yard. The brief called for a simple room to paint in, free of distractions, that only let light enter from the north -- indirect light that gives continuity of light when painting in oils. The result is a dark, black, single volume that is mysterious from the outside and quietly beautiful from the inside. The studio does not mimic the adjacent houses, but is designed to be of similar scale and to complement the existing buildings. A narrow alleyway runs along the side of the building to the entrance, separating it from the end of a terrace of houses. A small yard at the rear of the building enables off-street deliveries to be taken with minimal disturbance through a large door in the southern facade. The structure is built of cross-laminated timber and uses the existing ground slab as foundation. Highly insulated, with recycled cellular glass insulation, ventilation is natural and lighting is through the large ETFE roof only, with no electrical lighting. dRMM says: 'We collaborated with the client on every detail, from the pigmentless, polyurethane, screed resin floor to the special eyewash station that takes the place of a sink. We learnt that achieving true simplicity is not necessarily quick or easy, but it is entirely satisfying.'
JUDGES COMMENTS: 'This could be something found in a Becher photograph. Maybe because the design, paired back to
the point of being industrial, feels so at home in a yard in Deptford. I think we'd all like one.' Asif Khan
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