Zinc-clad artist’s studio stands in and against the elements

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The structure is actually two slightly offset buildings built on top of a midden wall where dung from the old stables nearby had been deposited(Credit: Johnny Barrington)

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Zinc is the 24th most abundant element on Earth and as an architectural material it offers an extremely durable, corrosion resistant, easy to maintain surface that can be used to cover and create buildings in ways mostly limited by imagination. Studio Weave fully embraced these metallic, weather busting properties when it created Midden Studio, an artist’s workspace clad entirely in zinc that's tucked away on the west coast of Scotland.

Perched over – as opposed to near – a local stream (or burn in Scottish) with the lilting name of Allt ant-Sionnaich, the Midden Studio is described by its designers as the "lovechild of native granite and the local buildings."

"We wanted the building to appear as a homogenous object, and zinc was a material we could use on every exterior surface - walls, roof, gutters, etc.," explains Eddie Blake, Principal Designer at Studio Weave and Project Lead for the Midden Studio. "Zinc is also very hard wearing, and the sea-sprayed, stormed tossed environment up on the west coast of Scotland demanded a tough cladding."

The studio’s unique exterior is covered in a symmetrical pattern of crosses and diamonds. The result is a modern look with a textural feel that is meant to connote masonry patterns derived from the facades of two historic buildings in Italy – the 14th-century Palazzo dei Diamanti and the 18th-century Chiesa del Gesu Nuova church – and the now-ruined Crichton Castle on Scotland's east coast.

The structure is actually two slightly offset buildings creating a combined 36 square meters (approximately 380 square feet) built on top of a midden wall where dung from the old stables nearby had been deposited. A portion of the studio is cantilevered over the Allt ant-Sionnaich stream with a large window built into an overhanging soffit to allow in soft light and provide an overhead view of the flowing water.

The two separate spaces were created to solve the issue of light. One area needed softer or controlled light for digital work while the other needed more direct, bright light for traditional painting and drawing. An indoor wash area is also included.

Blake points out that the building is made entirely from sustainably sourced timber and designed to be super insulated, cold-bridge free and therefore needs very little heating.

From a distance, Midden Studio could be mistaken for local barns and other agricultural buildings. But once inside, the zinc gives way to a strikingly minimalist space. Birch plywood covers both floors and walls allowing for an easy change when splattered paint, burn marks and other elements of the resident artist’s medium cover too much of the surface.

Source: Studioweave

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