Experimental Studio Uses Unskilled Labor, Local Materials



invisible studios

What happens when a quirky group of experimental architects needs a new studio? They enlist the help of unskilled laborers and set to work building the new structure themselves, utilizing a set of untested methods to create something truly unique that is decidedly imperfect – and beautiful due, in part, to its imperfections.

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Architecture practice Invisible Studio of Bath, UK built a new studio in the woods, but instead of doing the normal route of hiring contractors and standing aside as the work was done, they dug in. They gathered nearby friends and neighbors and enlisted them to help in the creation of this very unique new office.

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The construction process used unseasoned lumber from the area around the new structure. A mobile saw was rented for the project and all of the required lumber was milled over a two-day period. This no-fuss method set the tone for the very minimal project; even at the end of the project, the milled lumber wasn’t quite enough to completely clad the exterior of the building.

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Nearly all of the labor was done by hand and in a low-tech fashion. Rather than renting scaffolding for the construction, the team made their own scaffolding from the lumber that would eventually be used to create the access bridge to the building. All boards used are as inexpensive as possible, and the insulation is created from recycled off-cuts. The windows were salvaged and the paint was left over from another project the studio worked on.

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The finished studio is heated with waste wood from the project and from the surrounding trees. Because the structure was built with minimal plans and unskilled labor, there are noticeable flaws in the construction – and this is precisely what the company hoped for. Their new studio is a labor of love, completed by people who came together to do something new and improvisational, and the finished product is stunning despite the builders’ lack of expertise.

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