• Location: Wiltshire
  • Client: Private
  • Project status: Completed
  • Project type: New Build
  • Size: 155 sqm

Completed Summer 2018


  • Shortlisted in Structural Timber Awards 2019 Private Housing category
  • Shortlisted in Residential Swimming Pool category in the International Design & Architecture Awards 2019
  • WINNER in Residential Architectural Property category in International Design & Architecture Awards 2019.
  • Shortlisted in Best Non-Public Project (Residential) in Blueprint Awards 2019
  • WINNER of a Salisbury Civic Society New Buildings Award 2019

Richmond Bell Architects were commissioned to design a new outbuilding in the grounds of the Old Rectory near Tisbury, Wiltshire.

The brief was to create a contemporary, sustainable pool house and Pilates studio that would contrast with the Georgian Old Rectory, yet remain sympathetic to its rural surroundings. On the lower level are 3 large garage bays and an extensive plant area. The pool house also includes a gymnasium with corner glazing, a steam room and changing area with shower and WC.

The design of The Studio relies upon the asymmetrical form of the pool house which sits upon the natural meadow roof of the garages.  The landscape rises up above the ground floor which helps reduce the overall massing of the building, and provides a contrast to the structure above.  The new form of the building is enhanced through the materials and contemporary detailing of the Siberian Larch timber cladding, which wraps over to clad the roof.  The cladding  conceals the gutters and rainwater goods, helping to emphasise the sharp, clean lines of the Studio, and will fade to a silvery-grey over time.

Internally, the trusses remain exposed to enable the Studio to be opened up to its full height and recreate a traditional, barn feel. The combination of the pale wooden trusses and flooring, and the rustic, dark wooden cupboard doors and window sills was an important design feature, enhancing the calm aura of the interior. The wood used for the doors and sills was reclaimed from the original Rectory, contributing to the sustainable ethos of the Studio.

This new-build relies upon modern construction techniques and renewable energy sources which provide the building with an environmental edge.  RBA worked closely with expert timber engineers, CarpenterOak, who proposed a structure of SIP Panels (Structural Insulated Panels) and Glu-lam trusses, along with a steel portal frame.  Each of these three core elements worked together, utilising specialist hidden connection details, to enable the building to withstand the implied loadings, whilst the SIPs provide a high level of insulation. The timber clad roof helps conceal over 85 sqm of solar panels, which combined with the biomass boiler and pellet hopper, provides the client with a high-performance building.

The asymmetrical trusses extend through the building to form the pergola to the pool, which spans the length of the building.  The landscaping around the pool and Studio help contextualise the building while providing the client with entertaining and al fresco dining areas.

For an animation of the proposal for the Studio, please click here; to see the completed Old Rectory, please click here.

01/07/2019 – We are excited to announce that The Studio has been shortlisted for the Private Housing Category at the 2019 Structural Timber Awards. See here for more details.

17/07/2019 – The Studio has been shortlisted for the Residential Swimming Pool category in the International Design & Architecture Awards 2019, hosted by design-et-al magazine.

24/07/2019 – The Studio has also been shortlisted in the Residential Architectural Property category in the International Design & Architecture Awards 2019.

20/09/2019 – AWARD WINNER! We were thrilled to be announced as the winner of the Residential Architectural Property category at the International Design & Architecture Awards 2019 ceremony in London. Read about the evening here!

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