Well Road Studio

London NW3

A project for a studio space for the singer and DJ Boy George. The studio is set within the garden of the client’s house, which is a large Grade II Listed, mid-19th century Victorian house. Architecturally the villa is an eccentric mixture of Gothic, Italianate and other styles, featuring yellow stock brick with red brick and stone dressings and diaper work.

The client’s brief was simply to create a freestanding building within the garden that would provide spaces with the qualities that the main house lacked. Despite its strong architectural character, the existing house suffers from low levels of natural light and it does not enjoy a strong sense of connection with the garden. Therefore the brief principally was to address natural light and openness to the surrounding mature gardens.

Three main architectural elements are proposed; a sunken external courtyard, a ground floor studio and a first floor studio, although the two studio spaces are linked but possess contrasting spatial qualities, with one open to the garden and the other open to the sky. Together these spaces are intended to provide the qualities and atmosphere that the existing house lacks.

A series of walls composed of slender handmade Petersen bricks are positioned to define an external courtyard and a lower studio. The walls run continuously between internal and external spaces. A minimal screen of sliding glazed panels are positioned within the brick walls, to create strong sense of spatial connection between the courtyard and the lower studio. The brick walls extend to form a pool and water spout within the courtyard, where the reflections from the pool introduce a sense of movement and the sound of water into the courtyard and studio.

A volume of sloping planes of zinc sits above the brick walls, forming the roof to the studios. The zinc surfaces taper to create a rooflight at their apex. A small mezzanine sits within this volume forming the second studio space. This second studio space is more introverted in character, with no views out and lit solely from the rooflight that frames a view of the sky.

A simple gravel path links the new courtyard to the existing patio to the rear of the house. New beds of planting are positioned within the garden space between the studio and main house, with the garden and courtyard forming a linked series of landscaped spaces between house and studio.