The new drawing studio at the Arts University Bournemouth campus in Dorset is an undulating prefabricated structure that looks like a giant whale. Clad in 17 steel panels, painted blue, and designed by Peter Cook's practice CRAB Studio, the new space is designed to engage students in various disciplines-from fashion and graphic design to fine art and architecture. It is the first stand-alone drawing studio to be built at a British art college for more than a century, and a rather unconventional one.
The building’s bulbous, steel-plated form culminates with two large windows that angle up towards the sky and provide natural light for drawing classes. The external skin is formed from 17 steel panels manufactured in a factory before being transported and welded together on site. Glass reinforced gypsum (GRG) is one of the main building materials used to insulate the building and create a service cavity between the shell and inner wall. This space houses a store, changing room, toilet and washing up area.
The spacious interior contrasts the exterior with a neutral white environment that looks like a blank canvas, allowing students to concentrate on their designs. Two large skylights, a low-level strip window and glazed entrance bring ample light into the studio space.
“The studio represents a fundamental recognition of the importance of drawing for all creative subjects,” said Cook. “When it came to the design of the studio I wanted to ensure I created a space which all students, from all disciplines – be it fashion design, graphic design, fine art, or architecture like me – could make use of and feel inspired in,” he added.
Photos by Richard Bryant