Architects: Ashton Porter Architects
Client: Abigail Ashton and Andrew Porter
Completetion year: 2010
Location: London, UK
Suburbanstudio is a garden studio and refurbishment to a typical Victorian suburban house designed by Ashton Porter Architects. The garden is transformed into a courtyard condition which is addressed by both the studio and the remodelled house. The main studio facade that addresses the garden floats above a glass panel and forms a screen to separate the work-space of the studio from the domestic garden.
The courtyard condition created has a different language to the conventional suburban garden. It’s predominantly hard landscape is characterized by a timber surface, which can transform from formal “public” landscape in the weekdays into a children’s play area at the weekend. A series of timber hatches lift to reveal a subterranean sandpit, a firepit and paddling pool with hot and cold plumbed water. The timber garden also houses a small circular lawn and the hidden pump and filter system for an adjacent pond.
The materials of the studio make reference to the suburban context; timber cladding echoes domestic fencing, corrugated aluminium refers to inter-war prefabricated garages and a former Anderson shelter. The studio is super-insulated and benefits from a sedum roof; heating is provided by Apple Macintosh computers with very occasional recourse to under floor heating. The main facade is unsupported along its full length and rests on cantilevered sidewalls. The wall construction is entirely from stressed ply composite panels with no hidden steel supporting frame.
With a move to working from home the separation and thresholds between domestic and workspace become a key consideration. Typically home workers occupy a spare bedroom or living room and are compromised with disruption from the domestic environment. By locating the workspace in a separate studio space these disadvantages are overcome, however there needs to be flexibility and adaptability with this approach. Whilst the studio addresses the garden as a floating fence to create separation it is also usable as a family space at weekends and evenings; the children are able to use the computers (with their own log-ins!) as well as layout surfaces for homework and play.