A conceptual successor to the blue Drawing Studio completed by CRAB on the university campus in 2016, the Innovation Studio will serve a larger program – a space for small start-ups led by recent graduates to develop with support from business experts within the university and from across the globe.
Located on a small infill site between the University House administration block and the main Workshop block, the structure is designed to house a series of ‘focus pads’ – outfitted with plotters, business machines, fabricators and robotics – located along a snaking ramp on the interior perimeter of the building. Angled light shafts bring natural light into each area.
As in the design of the Drawing Studio, color plays a strong role in the visual identity of the building. The exterior and key interior surfaces are washed in tones of orange that vary according to the direction of the plane. This jolt of color allows the building to stand out amongst its neighbors.
“The light shafts avoid a deliberate hierarchy of scale,” explain the architects. “The ‘cheeky’, keyhole–like side windows are tailored to focus upon key positions on the pads: thus the start up teams are subtly identified. It is a sunny, seaside building and a punctuation to the otherwise monochromatic blocks either side.
The building structure is comprised of a variety of interdependent flat-faced CLT (cross laminated timber) cones and prefabricated panels that are used to create walls, floors and roofs. By using material in various ways, the design also breaks down the traditional notions of program:
“With direct connection through to the workshops at ground level, the building is deliberately breaking down the categories of ‘office’, ‘studio’ and ‘workshop’- and is thus an appropriate hybrid for future practice.”
LocationPoole, United Kingdom
ArchitectCook Robotham Architectural Bureau (CRAB studio)
Primary Team MembersProf. Sir Peter Cook, Gavin Robotham, Jenna Al-Ali
PhotographsCourtesy of CRAB Studio