riba awards

Drawing Studio




Drawing Studio Richard Bryant 5


ARCHITECT: CRAB studio (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau Ltd)

CLIENT: Arts University Bournemouth


riba SOUTH WEST award 2016

Reportedly the first dedicated drawing studio to be built in a British art school for a century, the extraordinary atmosphere within this building left the jury wondering why this would be so. It is sure to re-ignite interest in a forgotten building type. An exemplary art making space lurks within a colourfully wrapped sweetie of building that will inevitably become emblematic of its host institution. 

This is a building that stridently reinforces the agenda of the arts university, leading the transformative effects of an evolutionary building programme.   From the outside the studio pavilion fulfils its intended role as a marker at a primary but unassuming student entry point to the campus. It occupies its corner plot like a squat Buddah, ethereal and likeable. Formed from bridge building technology, the 3-dimensionally curved painted structural steel skin addresses the challenges of creating fluid form with relative success, its bright YKB hue giving cohesion to a form dominated by its cyclopean north light.   

On the inside all is calm. The soft curves create an almost intangible cave-like form dominated by the elliptical light that beautifully frames tree canopies that go almost unnoticed outside.  

In a simple fluid space where considerable effort has been quietly expended to eradicate extraneous detail, specific and very effective highlights remain. Of particular note are the simple outline of the north light with bright white illumination that has an extraordinary ‘eyeliner’ effect and the floor level glazing strip that renders the long interior bench as a believable organic fold in the envelope.   

This is a building that fits its purpose perfectly; a space for drawing that invites you to draw. The jury wanted to stay.

CONTRACTOR: Morgan Sindall
M&E ENGINEERS: P³r Engineers Ltd

COST: Confidential
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Jenna Al-Ali / Richard Bryant

Drawing Studio Richard Bryant 1Drawing Studio Jenna Al-Ali 2Drawing Studio Richard Bryant 3Drawing Studio Richard Bryant 4Drawing Studio Richard Bryant 6Drawing Studio Richard Bryant 7Drawing Studio Richard Bryant 8Drawing Studio Richard Bryant 9Drawing Studio Jenna Al-Ali 10