New architecture office ByOthers has designed and hand-built their own studio in South London to explore development, construction, and set the tone for a practice that values doing as much as discussing.
A practice of four, ByOthers was founded by Richard Keys in late 2020 on the principles of collaboration, action and cross-disciplinary thinking. Driven to deliver environmentally and socially beneficial projects through a holistic response to place and people, ByOthers operates alongside development arm, Places ByOthers to bring forward self initiated projects, and construction arm, Built ByOthers to realise them.
The Garden Studio marks the practice’s first completed work and is located in Peckham, South London at the rear of a terraced plot. Accessible only through the house at the front of the site, the studio is composed of materials that were carried by hand through the narrow hallway of the home.
The building comprises three tapering blocks that create a stepped form. Each block offers space for different functions; work, meeting, and utilities. A ridgeline steps from corner to corner, creating a playful, undulating roof which is expressed internally.
The Garden Studio was built by the team to test a variety of ideas including concrete-free construction. It hovers lightly on the ground, supported by deep screwpile foundations that were installed manually, mitigating the need for concrete strip foundations. The studio is constructed from a lightweight timber frame set atop a timber raft.
ByOthers clad the studio in a series of custom corten steel panels with each U-shape beam inverted to show the method of fastening and celebrate the studio's construction. Due to the angular geometry of the roofline, each steel panel features a unique measurement and dedicated placement on the exterior. To ensure the panels were installed in the correct location, ByOthers designed a geometric code of triangles and lines laser cut into their bases.
ByOthers have continued their experimental approach inside the Garden Studio, using the project as an opportunity to test the application of materials such as clayworks plaster and a natural, vegetable based timber oil. ByOthers also designed a custom bathroom and kitchen pod of iridescent dipped steel that contrasts against the soft texture of timber throughout, throwing light around the space. Heavily insulated with sheep’s wool to reduce heat loss, the Garden Studio is designed to offer a comfortable internal climate year-round.
A large glass pivot door opens the studio on an alfresco sitting area in the verdant garden. Planters at the base of the stepped side elevation bed the studio into its’ setting, creating a vibrant contrast between the rust-coloured corten and deep green ferns and foliage.
The Garden Studio encapsulates ByOthers’ dynamic approach to doing, unafraid of the challenges that come with architecture at any scale. The young practice is currently completing a large-scale interior fit out for an educational outdoor facility and a new build passive house in Yorkshire, in conjunction with a new brownfield residential development and mixed use multi unit developments in London.