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Holloway Lightbox


Leyton, London




Studio Bark Projects




Situated at the bottom of the clients’ back garden, Holloway Lightbox is a photography studio, a screenwriter’s retreat and a flexible family space. In a nod to the couple’s respective professions (photography and film), a series of handmade coloured tiles represent the digital age, creating a playful ‘pixelated’ façade. This modern, yet sustainable skin presents an emphatic juxtaposition between new and old, incorporating chalky surface tones, helping to complement the rigid Victorian masonry adjacent.

In 2018 Holloway Lightbox was shortlisted for the AJ Small Project Awards. In the Autumn of 2018 the space was opened to the public as part of Open House Weekend.

The Form

The form of the roof maximises south-westerly light through a full-width glazed opening, before sloping down towards the neighbouring garden. The 15 degree pitch of the roof matches the angle of the sun’s final rays before it nestles down behind the neighbouring row of terraces.

The Tiles

Made using waste timber fibres for reinforcement; the tiles are a low carbon alternative to the more commonly used concrete/cement mixes. More than 1200 tiles were made by hand over a three week period and included extensive testing of various forms, thicknesses, mixes, reinforcements and pigments.

The Environment

The building shell has been fully insulated using 150mm of natural timber fibre insulation to surpass current building regulations. The concrete slab was constructed of a cement mix using 50% GGBS (Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag), a by-product from the Steel Industry, helping to dramatically reduce the embodied energy of the building, whilst providing useful thermal mass for the studio. The large sliding door is a factory reconditioned low energy Sunflex SVG99 and the fixed roof light is a low-E double glazed Panaroof clear skylight. In order to improve natural ventilation, a small insulated hatch was built into the structure and sits behind the hung tiles, invisible to the passer-by, but essential after a long day of shooting!

The Build

Studio Bark gained planning approval in June 2015 before handing it over to Studio Bark Projects for construction in the Autumn. The construction project took roughly 4 weeks and was assisted by two teams of architecture students from the University of East London. A big shout out goes to all of our brilliant student assistants who worked tirelessly to make this building a reality, including Lauretta, Athena, Alvin, Moiz, Sahand, Zi Xin, Nor Amirah, Mohamed, Mary, Thomas, Madihah and Afiqah.

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