A London Couple's Backyard Studio Is Clad in Sustainable Cork

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By Anna Jones
A musician-and-seamstress couple commission a shared workspace in their elegant garden.

Designed by London-based design studio Surman Weston, Cork Study is a simple volume that creates harmony between the exterior setting and the creative endeavors that happen inside. It is a synchronized solution for work and play, formed from simple and sustainable materials. 

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The narrow site and surrounding greenery provided ample inspiration for the design solution. The multipurpose cork cladding is an innovative solution which acts as both the weatherproofing layer as well as the thermal and acoustic insulator. The natural color and texture of the cork immerse the volume in the surroundings. In addition, a wildflower sedum roof blends the simple volume into the tree canopies above. 

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On the interior, the simple mass is lined with birch plywood and filled with natural light, emitting a warm glow. A large skylight draws light in from above, while a slot window provides views to the neighboring gardens. The furniture, also composed of plywood, is hung from the walls to create a feeling of spaciousness within the condensed volume. A shared desk unit with built-in storage is decorated with the owners' personal belongings. The large, oak-framed pocket door may be fully opened to provide direct connection to the garden. 

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The innovative use of materials is also eco-friendly. The all-timber structural framing, in combination with the vegetated roof, cork cladding, and expanded cork blocks, create a fully sustainable construction. 

Through construction, material qualities, and sensory experiences, the Cork Study is a simple solution for a harmonious workplace, engaged with the natural environment and thoughtfully crafted for creativity and concentration. 

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Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Surman Weston Ltd

Builder: Surman Weston Construction

Structural Engineer: Structure Workshop

Lighting Design: Surman Weston Ltd

Interior Design: Surman Weston Ltd

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