Replica House Studios
Surman Weston have converted a former Victorian church into a home and co- working space – including the architects’ own office – featuring a stained-glass screen and dramatic suspended staircase, a nod to the building’s past as a place of worship.
The project brief was to re-purpose a section of the former Methodist Church into a space that could be used as a co-working studio in the short term and a home for a couple in the long term. The concept embraced the dual purpose required in the brief. Rather than designing a studio that could subsequently be transformed into a home, it combines the warmth of materiality that you might find in a home, with the size and flexibility that is required in a studio or office. At either end of the rectangular plan, mezzanine platforms are inserted with the open centre creating a generous double height space which helps naturally light the lower level. The mezzanine level to the East provides a meeting space/study, which gives on to a roof terrace. To the West, the mezzanine level forms an enclosed office/bedroom and is afforded privacy with the use of a boldly coloured stained glass screen. Beneath one mezzanine platform a generous kitchen opens out onto the main living/working space. Beneath the other, the geometric stained glass screen is continued down to form the suspended staircase. The aesthetic of the project was derived from the existing timber trusses. Sandblasting to remove the many layers of paint applied over the last 130 years revealed the remarkable texture of the original timbers. This led to the idea of creating a canvas of white textures including: enamelled worktops, wood-wool acoustic panels, painted pine panelling, painted timber trusses and the elegant steel frames for the screen and staircase; forming a counterpoint to the colourful stained glass.