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No job too big or small, as Timber Innovations help architect create a stunning modern studio

Timber Innovations is proud of our many working relationships with clients, and other relevant professions, and among them is with the Oxford based architect Paul Southouse. To that extent, we were delighted to be of service when Paul approached us to discuss his idea of creating a studio space, in the garden of his home, to accommodate himself and his staff.


It is actually one of the smallest jobs Timber Innovations has done, and our role in it was relatively peripheral. But we were happy to help, we liked what Paul was seeking to achieve, and the finished product is fantastic.

Essentially, Timber Innovations contribution involved us providing the structural and frame design, working with Paul’s ideas, and then the supply and delivery to site of the timber and other relevant materials. Paul and his team did the rest – a genuine self-build!


Said Paul: “Architects tend to be in cost denial, so with a limited budget we immediately looked to existing off-site technology and the principle of having a single section building with repeating elements.


“I had the idea of using roof truss technology, and put the principle straight to Timber Innovation’s designers – I had no hesitation in going to Timber Innovations, because I have worked with them on timber frame and SIPS houses, and we had already developed a good rapport.”


It took just a couple of days before the in-house structural engineers were back in touch with Paul, and they came up with the idea of having two x 4mm steel plates either side of the pre-cut timber components, to each joint, with no less than 12 bolts to stiffen each of these locations.”


Said Paul: “I quickly added this up: 17 frames, five joints and 12 bolts equalled 1020 bolts! I then multiplied this by £4 to £5 a bolt, and half the budget was gone on bolts alone! Happily, when Timber Innovations formalised the quote, they managed to get a much better deal on the bolts and all the timber too, so we were good to go!”


After a few weeks of agreeing the drawings and exact scope, and whilst preparing the groundworks, the timbers, metalwork and all the components arrived in one go. Some more careful organisation for the arrival of windows, installation and scaffold boards which were used for the floor, meant Paul had moved in to his new studio within three weeks.


Indeed, so successful has this project been, that Paul is now looking to utilise the experience for more ambitious projects in the future, and plans are in the pipeline to erect a small community of buildings as affordable homes for younger buyers, or downsizers that want to live in, or around, a village environment.


He explained: “The aim is to be able offer these for sale significantly lower than the market rate,” said Paul. “The only way we are going to achieve this is to use off-site construction to minimise the cost of construction, and we hope Timber Innovations will continue to travel with us on this journey.



“How we negotiate this with the Planning Authorities and Parish Councils is another challenge altogether!


“We believe this type of technique should ideally be considered as part of the initial design concept, as we did with the studio,” he said. “Understanding the constraints of the main material can help shape the design and also reduce costs. Off-site construction is without a doubt the way forward simply due to the quality, time efficiencies and cost.


“There will always be a need for craftsman too, for stone walling and cladding for example, so the challenge going forward is adopting the best aspects of the new technologies and traditional methods together. I think we made a good step to achieving this.


“The studio blends in to the conservation area, tucked behind a listed house, but on the inside it offers a truly unique space.”


And Timber Innovations would be delighted to work with Paul going forward. Said Ian MacCarthy, Sales Director: “It was a good plan that Paul had put together for our designers to work on, and we were delighted to be involved.


“Paul and his team played a blinder, and the finished product looks fantastic. I think the concept is very interesting, and I totally endorse Paul’s aspirations going forward, so watch this space.”


For more information about Paul Southouse Architects, visit the website: www.paulsouthouse.co.uk