Tiny Houses

Off-grid tiny shelter and artist's studio is on the move

Off-grid tiny shelter and arti...
The Observatory is currently installed in the South Downs National Park (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Observatory is currently installed in the South Downs National Park (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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Each structure sits atop an integrated rotating stainless steel base that's controlled manually with a hand-operated wheel (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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Each structure sits atop an integrated rotating stainless steel base that's controlled manually with a hand-operated wheel (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The rotating structure allows the artist-in-residence to frame the perfect view (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The rotating structure allows the artist-in-residence to frame the perfect view (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
Both structures are clad in Siberian Larch (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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Both structures are clad in Siberian Larch (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The larch was charred using a traditional Japanese method of treating timber called Shou Sugi Ban (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The larch was charred using a traditional Japanese method of treating timber called Shou Sugi Ban (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The charring process involved stacking several braced timber planks, which then burned from the bottom upward, charring the timber within minutes (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The charring process involved stacking several braced timber planks, which then burned from the bottom upward, charring the timber within minutes (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The team will monitor how well it stands up to the British weather after a couple of years (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The team will monitor how well it stands up to the British weather after a couple of years (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Observatory actually comprises two structures: The Workshop and The Study (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Observatory actually comprises two structures: The Workshop and The Study (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Observatory is currently installed in the South Downs National Park (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Observatory is currently installed in the South Downs National Park (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Observatory is the work of four architecture graduates from London-based firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Observatory is the work of four architecture graduates from London-based firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
Once The Observatory has finished its 6 month stint in South Downs National Park, it will be placed upon a 2 x 10 m (6 x 32 ft) flat bed truck for transportation to the next location (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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Once The Observatory has finished its 6 month stint in South Downs National Park, it will be placed upon a 2 x 10 m (6 x 32 ft) flat bed truck for transportation to the next location (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
Each structure sits atop an integrated rotating stainless steel base that's controlled manually with a hand-operated wheel (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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Each structure sits atop an integrated rotating stainless steel base that's controlled manually with a hand-operated wheel (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
A roof-based solar panel provides enough juice for low-power tasks like charging a laptop or mobile device in The Study (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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A roof-based solar panel provides enough juice for low-power tasks like charging a laptop or mobile device in The Study (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Study also features a toilet, sleeping area, a wood-burning stove, and a work space (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Study also features a toilet, sleeping area, a wood-burning stove, and a work space (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Workshop, meanwhile, sports a roof-based rainwater collection system that provides the artist with water on tap for washing paints and fabrics in the installed sink (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Workshop, meanwhile, sports a roof-based rainwater collection system that provides the artist with water on tap for washing paints and fabrics in the installed sink (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Observatory, shown in its current location in South Downs National Park (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Observatory, shown in its current location in South Downs National Park (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Observatory will stay in its current location for 6 months (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Observatory will stay in its current location for 6 months (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
Interior shot of The Study (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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Interior shot of The Study (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
It takes one person around six minutes to complete a full revolution using the hand-operated wheel (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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It takes one person around six minutes to complete a full revolution using the hand-operated wheel (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Study is a private refuge for the artist to live and work (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Study is a private refuge for the artist to live and work (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The team will monitor how well The Observatory stands up to two years of British weather (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The team will monitor how well The Observatory stands up to two years of British weather (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
Once The Observatory has finished its 6 month stint in South Downs National Park, it will be placed upon a 2 x 10 m (6 x 32 ft) flat bed truck for transportation to the next location (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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Once The Observatory has finished its 6 month stint in South Downs National Park, it will be placed upon a 2 x 10 m (6 x 32 ft) flat bed truck for transportation to the next location (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
Inside The Study (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
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Inside The Study (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
An organic rope screen decays with time (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
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An organic rope screen decays with time (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
The team will monitor how well it stands up to the British weather after a couple of years (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The team will monitor how well it stands up to the British weather after a couple of years (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
The Workshop sports a roof-based rainwater collection system that provides the artist with fresh water on tap for washing paints and fabrics in the installed sink (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
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The Workshop sports a roof-based rainwater collection system that provides the artist with fresh water on tap for washing paints and fabrics in the installed sink (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
Charring the wood (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
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Charring the wood (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
Charring the wood (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
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Charring the wood (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
Charring the wood (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
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Charring the wood (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
The Observatory is currently installed in the South Downs National Park (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
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The Observatory is currently installed in the South Downs National Park (Photo: Matt Dunkinson for SPUD)
View gallery - 29 images

Last year, we reported on an Indiegogo campaign raising funds to build The Observatory: an off-grid tiny shelter and artist's studio that will visit various locations in England and allow an artist-in-residence to live and work, displaying their created art to visitors. Though it didn't reach its crowdfunding goal, the project survived, and was recently installed in Winchester's South Downs National Park.

The Observatory is the work of four architecture graduates from London-based firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios – Charlotte Knight, Mina Gospavic, Ross Galtress, Lauren Shevills, and Edward Crumpton – and was commissioned by SPUD Studio, the firm responsible for the Exbury Egg. It comprises two structures: The Workshop and The Study. The Workshop provides a space for members of the public to come and view the art created, while The Study is a tiny shelter in which the artist will live and work for up to two months at a time.

Both buildings are beautifully finished and clad in Siberian Larch, which was charred using a traditional Japanese method of treating timber called Shou Sugi Ban in a bid to preserve it. The team is now researching the method's possible use for future architectural applications, and will check to see how well it stands up to a couple of years of exposure to British weather.

The Workshop sports a roof-based rainwater collection system that provides the artist with fresh water on tap for washing paints and fabrics in the installed sink (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)
The Workshop sports a roof-based rainwater collection system that provides the artist with fresh water on tap for washing paints and fabrics in the installed sink (Photo: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)

Though you can't really see in the photos, The Study and The Workshop sit atop an integrated rotating stainless steel base that's controlled manually with a hand-operated wheel on the inside, allowing the artist-in-residence to move the shelter around to frame the best view (it takes one person around 6 minutes to complete a full revolution).

A roof-based solar panel array provides enough juice for basic tasks like charging a laptop or mobile device in The Study, and the micro-dwelling also contains a toilet, sleeping area, a wood-burning stove, and a work space. The Workshop, meanwhile, features a rainwater collection system that provides the artist with water for washing paints and fabrics in the installed sink.

Once The Observatory has finished its 6 month stint at the South Downs National Park, both structures will be placed upon a 2 x 10 m (6 x 32 ft) flat bed truck for transportation to the next location, the Lymington Salt Marshes.

Sources: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, The Observatory

View gallery - 29 images
1 comment
Keith Reeder
Sigh...
It's a wonky up-market shed - no more, no less.
Seriously - what's the big deal?