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Thomas Heatherwick, Creative Business Studios, Aberystwyth Arts Center, Wales, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, green design, CFC, insulation, daylighting, natural ventilation, startups, cladding

Each building houses two artists, so Weatherwick Studio basically cut the timber-framing in half to allow natural light and ventilation to permeate the building and to create a separate entrance for each of the start-ups. But when they looked at using steel to clad these unusual spaces, the design team found it to be prohibitively costly for the University of Wales’ Aberystwth’s budget.

Instead, they purchased a very thin steel that crinkles easily, providing none of the necessary structural support or rigidity. This problem was overcome by spraying a non-CFC insulation on the crinkly side of the carefully formed cladding, which transformed it into a perfectly strong and insulated material. Far more affordable than thicker steel, it also accommodates eaves and windowsills and provides a certain amount of flexibility. Built in 2009, these beautiful art studios are fully occupied and garnered the Civic Trust Awards in 2010.

+ Heatherwick Studio