A series of abandoned agricultural buildings were salvaged and adapted to create new print studio workshops and display spaces for Printroom, an artist-led gallery in rural Suffolk.
The buildings are located on an elevated plain overlooking the River Alde, surrounded by wild meadows. They were conceived as a family of forms that create a range of work and hanging spaces and additional outdoor exhibition spaces within the landscape between the formal galleries.
The buildings carefully engage in the existing context to create a place in which to reflect on the works within the natural landscape, the subject of many of the pieces.
The new gallery building was constructed to an ambitious budget and purposefully uses economic everyday materials, elevating them above their everyday uses through thoughtful detailing.
The buildings purposefully maintain their existing bold form and restrained palette of materials, but are constructed in a considered and contemporary manner that acknowledges and engages in the local vernacular craft of Suffolk building.
A Reinvention of Abandoned Sheds
The structure was originally constructed on a nearby airfield as an aircraft repair workshop. After WW2 the building was dismantled, relocated to it’s current site and re-erected in a rudimentary manner where it was variously used to house pigs and later chickens.
The abandoned buildings were in such a parlous state by the start of the project that the original client brief called for their demolition. The roof and walls had largely disintegrated but the simple skeleton structure remained.
The existing timber truss frame structures were reused, with the surrounding building fabric upgraded to create a controlled gallery climate. A new skin of OSB encased the original structure, providing an efficient solution of structural bracing. A mute pallete of everyday budget materials were used in an economic manner to radically renovate the building within the tight budget.
No superfluous material was included. The exposed OSB boards contribute create contrast to the white lined gallery walls, whilst visually lifting the ceiling of the diminutive volume. The painted trusses allow the beauty of the original simple structure to be seen.