The Black House in the Cambridgeshire Fens was designed by Meredith Bowles for his family. In 2004 it was a finalist for the both AJ First Building Award in 2004 and the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Award, and winner of the Manser Medal.
Since the building was completed, an office was built besides the house for Mole Architects, which was a simple single storey timber clad building, designed for a staff of up to 6 people. Self-contained, it had its own entrance lobby, WC, and kitchenette. It also served to distance the rear garden of the house from the street. Mole Architects moved out of the building in 2011, and the building was used as a studio and let as an occasional workspace
The recent addition connects the studio to the house, for use as a second living space. The link building becomes a garden room, gaining advantage of morning sun and opening up a view to the south. The door to the studio from the street is relocated as a rear entry to the main house with a small coat and boot room, and the new living room (still referred to as ‘the studio’) is accessed from the garden room. A shower has been added to allow the room to act as a guest suite.
The studio is now connected to the main house services and the Air Source Heat Pump of the main house supplies the hot water for underfloor heating, topped up with a stove in winter. External blinds assist the garden room against summer overheating.
The original birch plywood panelling has been retained, and a new ash floor laid to the existing studio and new garden room spaces. The rough-cut home grown Douglas fir cladding of the studio has been retained for re-use with new cladding to match, so that the garden room is absorbed into the studio, and the link between the timber studio and black corrugated house is suspended on steel stringers, expressed in red.