Dovecote Studio / Haworth Tompkins


© Philip Vile

Check out this project by London based firm, Haworth Tompkins.  The firm renovated a dilapidated old building situated on the campus – an internationally renowned music campus at Snape Maltings, founded by Benjamin Britten which is currently undergoing an expansion. Nestleed within the shell of an abandoned building, the firm responded to the existing conditions with a touch of sensitivity, uniting the old structure with the new aesthetic.

More about the project, including more images after the break.

© Philip Vile

The exisiting ruins once formed a two-storey brick dovecote, and although decayed, the enigmatic quality of this ruin became well known to concert-goers and visiting musicians. “Its crumbling brickwork and rusting window grilles embodied the site’sromantic dereliction, and the balance between decaying buildings and marsh landscape which first drew Benjamin Britten to Snape.”

© Philip Vile

The new studio builds upon the original industrial feel on the campus and almost seems to gracefully grow from the old. Clad in Corten weathering steel, the structure is understood as a separate structure, yet compliments the existing shell with its rust-red shade almost matching the red bricks.

© Philip Vile

“The result is a building that from a distance evokes the ghost of the original structure, but, seen from close to, reveals itself as entirely new.”

© Philip Vile

For construction, the ruin had to be stabilized prior to inserting the new structure. Suffolk Welding crafted the steel into a single weather tight form. The sides and roof planes are made of full size 1200 x 2400mm sheets with regular staggered welded joints, into which door and window openings were cut in locations dictated by internal layout. Each panel was prefabricated by local steelworkers, then delivered to site to be assembled in a compound next to the brick ruin.

© Philip Vile

Functioning as an art studio, a large north window provides perfect lighting conditions for the artists. The studio is flexible enough to be used by artists in residence, by musicians as rehearsal or performance space or even for temporary exhibition space.

Via Chanel Beta and Blog Bellostes

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Dovecote Studio / Haworth Tompkins" 17 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • maarten

    Beautiful and impressively creative! These ‘small’ architectural interventions impress me more than all big ‘starchitect china projects’ multiplied by 1000

  • Tosh

    I’m a fan of Haworth Tompkins for quite a while now. Great material choices. Love the simple shapes. An interesting way of implementing the design onto the site (never thought you could do that.. but I guess with lighter structures it works, thus probably the material choice of something as light as metal..). Not totally convinced of the wood quality in the interior but it’s probably chosen because of a list of reasons: cheap, light (again) and it is wood (gives a soft, cosy feeling). I am also sure that the amount and orientation of threshold is totally justified.
    Great job! Keep the rational, logical, thoughtful approach going!

  • Nom_de_Guerre

    Very cool studio, love how the envelope was crafted from a single, continuous material which kind of makes it a 1:1 light, crisply cut model.

  • munter roe

    Cosy from the outside, little disapointed with the interior.

  • Habito kun

    i wish they wouldn’t cut down the tree that was near the ruins but they did. disappointed with that.
    otherwise it is a great thought.
    architects need to be kinder to the enviroment.

    • bLogHouse

      I was just going to write about that. It ruined it for me..

    • GC

      Could it be because the roots of the tree was affecting the foundation of the original structure?

  • CharlesInd

    Great ! I love it !
    The inside lacks some more detail maybe, that heater, spots and everything could be better incorporated.

  • aria

    why didnt they line up the front windows with the window openings of the existing structure? No one will ever look through those openings again. How does it engage the existing structure besides sitting in it?

  • SecondRate

    Familiar Idea…eh? Ever seen the work of naumann.architektur?