Drawing Studio, Arts University Bournemouth

Commissioned by the Arts University Bournemouth, this structure is the first purpose-built studio for drawing to be constructed at a British art school during the last 100 years. Its Patron is David Hockney. It is used by every department and is a built statement of the continuing central role of drawing in all the creative arts.

The all-steel monocoque construction has been developed by CRAB together with the engineers Adams Kara  Taylor and the shipbuilding offshoot CIG. Consisting of framed panels that are precisely tailored and fabricated in Germany and subsequently re-assembled, welded and painted on site.

The all-blue exterior is deliberately abstracted from any traditional or ‘homespun’ aspects of the Bournemouth area, but on the interior there is an all-white ambience that concentrates upon the issue of ‘light’.

Four types of natural light are manipulated : 1. From the large studio window : a steady north light, 2. From the clerestory window : as ‘bounced’ light from the rear wall, 3.  From below the long bench : a semi-secret washed floor light, 4. From the curved entrance via the glass door : gradated light.

An exemplary art-making space lurks within a colourfully wrapped sweetie of a building that will inevitably become emblematic of its host institution. This is a building that stridently reinforces the agenda of the arts university, leading the transformative effects of an evolutionary building programme.

From the outside the studio pavilion fulfils its intended role as a marker at a primary but unassuming student entry point to the campus. On the inside all is calm. The soft curves create an almost intangible, cave-like form dominated by the elliptical light that beautifully frames tree canopies. This is a building that fits its purpose perfectly; a space for drawing that invites you to draw.