Ice House Court Studios – Barking, London, UK

2016 – Built

The creation of studio spaces for up to 25 artists in a new mixed-use neighbourhood in Barking. The project involved the fit out of an existing shell and core commercial space on the ground floor of a residential block. The site required a design response that balances the desire for public interface and interaction with the need for a degree of privacy associated with creative practice. 

Responding to the existing fully glazed facade, the primary intervention was a new timber screen and shelving system lining the perimeter of the spaces that provides a sense of continuity and rhythm throughout the studios, whilst simultaneously enabling the artists to embrace the shopfront nature of the facade to display their work. The flexible nature of the shelving system is changeable, encouraging artists to tailor the spaces to their specific needs.

In response to the limited project budget, the design relied entirely on standard and readily available components and materials. The colour stained timber profiles of the shelving system and white plywood panels also double up as partitioning system, balancing a warm colour palette against the raw concrete walls and floors.

The intrinsically flexible nature of the shelving and partitioning system is intended to be changeable, encouraging artists to tailor the spaces to their specific needs and practices. Bright yellow painted walls and floors demarcate the shared areas and highlight the two entrances in the otherwise homogenous elevation of standard glazing components. 

This development was a long held vision of the borough as well as former London wide partners such as the Greater London Authority. The project helps to retain artists in London with the Barking Artist Enterprise Zone delivering affordable, sustainable and flexible workspaces and homes for the benefit of the Capital’s economy whilst also ensuring Barking’s full potential is unlocked.

Project Team
Finbarr O'Dempsey

Main Contractor
Sail & Sons

Building Control

Tim Crocker
Agnese Sanvito