This collaboration between client, designer and builder produced an outstanding and individual building.

The client, printmaker and lecturer Melissa Thompson, had a hodge-podge of sheds and timber climbing frames at the end of her garden, but had visions of replacing them with a green roofed eco-studio.


Printmakers Studio 2011.05.08

Printmakers Studio

The building was made from as much reclaimed timber as possible. The main structural flitch beam timbers being the only significant exception, the remaining timbers, including 18mm WBP ply from building site hoardings, were used to deck the roof and ceiling.

The folding sliding doors, which themselves were ex-display, face south to take advantage of solar gain, working with the thermal mass of the concrete slab floor.

The timber cladding was sourced by the client from an exhibition at the Barbican Gallery as whole tree trunks. The trunks were next transported to mill in Kent, and sawn through and through into planks, then stacked and seasoned at a timber salvage and reclamation yard in the Lea Valley. The seasoned timber was milled and rebated onsite by the designer, Caitlin Elster, and used to clad the timber framed walls (and later trim the roof) which in turn had been thoroughly insulated with Thermafleece sheeps wool, and wrapped with Tyvek vapour barrier.

Provision was made to instal photo-voltaic solar panels at a later date, before an extensive bio-diverse green roof was created with help and guidance from the urban ecologist Dusty Gedge. The growing medium comprises of crushed brick (from demolished buildings) and expanded clay to ensure the weight was kept to a minimum. Many of the sedums planted on the roof have come from the client's purpose made seedum nursery in the on-site greenhouse, with new varieties of plants added as time goes by.

The run-off water from the green roof is saved in an experimental aluminium water tower, created from an IBC atop a scaffold base, and used on the vegetable patch and in the greenhouse.