Project Team

  • Architect: Loyn and Co
  • Structural Engineer: WL2
  • Main Contractor: Chris Milliner/Forest Eco Systems

Inside the Outhouse by Loyn & Co

Loyn & Co’s Forest of Dean retreat uses a concrete-led aesthetic to reflect and complement the natural beauty of its setting within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Earth-sheltered designs evoke a sense of belonging to the landscape.

The new single-storey building was designed to function not only as a home but as a workspace for two busy artists, with each requiring their own studio. A green roof seamlessly knits together with the abutting hill to disguise the house from the road above.  

A gallery spine runs through the building from east to west, with north-facing top-lit studio space and guest rooms to the rear, and domestic living space at the front overlooking the valley. The configuration is also driven by the decision to leave “memories” of the previous buildings on the site as outlines forming a series of sheltered courtyards serving both the domestic and studio spaces.

Love local

Concrete was the obvious choice for the structure. The sustainability of the material was considered and 33% of the cement was replaced with fly ash. The concrete was also sourced from a local plant – Bardon Concrete – just four miles away. Added to this was the clients’ love of the concrete aesthetic, which they felt created the best backdrop for their art. The result is extensive use of exposed concrete for the floors, walls and ceiling both internally and externally, with the exception of areas of vertical strips of charred timber used for facing on non-loadbearing infill panels.

In order to allow the courtyard walls that define the location of the original buildings to read differently to the new work, Loyn & Co introduced a black pigment into the concrete mix, which the practice was advised would work better with self-compacting concrete.

Great attention was paid to the quality of the finishes, with architect and clients visiting the University of the West of England to research various surface textures and grades of finish as well as referring to the then on-site Stormy Castle before arriving at the final design.

Apart from the stone floor of the gallery, floors are power-floated and buffed to achieve a highly reflective finish. This contrasts with the walls and ceiling, which have a self-finish from the phenolic-faced boarding. A great deal of thought was given to how to fix the art to the 2.4m-high walls without drilling into the concrete. The solution was a cast-in recessed detail at the top of the walls that created a contemporary picture rail for stainless steel hangers to ensure that pictures can be hung anywhere along the gallery.

Aside from its structural and aesthetic uses, concrete also contributed to the Outhouse’s A+ Energy Performance Certificate rating, including through its provision of thermal mass to passively reduce the need to mechanically heat and cool the building.  The Outhouse’s sustainability credentials also include use of local contractors along with triple glazing, LED lighting, a ground source heat pump and solar thermal and photovoltaic panels.

Images: Charles Hosea

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