Iris Studio, London

Transforming a dilapidated church hall in a conservation area into a state-of-the-art photographic studio was the challenge facing Michael Girvan of Found Associates. Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council insisted on conserving the historic aspects of the external building, but were happy to allow the interior to be stripped back to the building shell.

The introduction of natural light was fundamental to its function as a photographic studio, and this was achieved through a combination of dormers and two large Special rooflights from the Rooflight Company. The Planning Department insisted that the rooflights be as discrete as possible and lie flush with the slate tiles. Since the special rooflights were based on the design of the low-profile Conservation Rooflight®, these conditions were easily met. The size of the rooflights was also an issue with the Planners, but in spite of this, the larger rooflight is a generous 2.3 x 1.4m, and the second rooflight measures 0.5 x 1.4m.

The muted dark grey palette of the interior was colour-matched to the rooflights, and their slim steel profiles sit well with the crisp, minimalist interior. So, although the appearance is traditional on the outside, the internal aspect is highly contemporary.

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