Artist Studio Conversion

VATRAA

MBP (Structural Engineer)

We aimed for an elegant architecture that does not follow trends but is a natural and powerful response to the constraints of the project.

The client, a family of 3, started the project as a property developer. Halfway through the design, they loved it so much that they decided to make it their own house. While not forgetting the investment factor (maximising the floor space was a must), we dove deep into understanding their personalities. Exploring their interest in spirituality and meditation, we agreed that the house should become their private sanctuary - protective, calm and serene. As a result, the house became an atmospheric journey, from the secluded basement to the vibrant first floor, orchestrated around dichotomies as dark-light, calm-vibrant, warm-cold or intimate-exposed. Bordered on all sides by other studios and the back gardens of taller properties, the studio had no windows to the ground floor, with the only natural light coming through the top roof. It became clear that the outside limitations would push the project to extend below ground. Adding 4 bedrooms and an additional 87 sqm internal area while maximising natural light was an almost impossible challenge. We took a holistic approach to environmental upgrade, looking at reducing annual CO2 emissions by improving building fabric energy, using heat pump and whole house MVHR, improving airtightness, and taking a 'raw' finishes approach by leaving the structure exposed to reduce materials to the minimum necessary. DWELLING CO2 EMISSION RATE (DER): After: 28.06 kgCO2/m2 Before: 47.29 kgCO2/m