Photo of design studio front
Photo of design studio exposed steel frame

Image credits: Pfeiffer Design

Project Description

Client: Pfeiffer Design
Location: Piddinghoe, East Sussex
Year Completed: 2021
Architect: MHD Architects

A two-storey bespoke design studio building providing a flexible work space for Pfeiffer Design, a high-end interior design company based in Sussex.

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the exterior design of the building is completely in keeping with the traditional style of the adjacent residential property, and has a ‘barn type’ appearance when viewed from outside.

In contrast, the interior is a contemporary open-plan design featuring an exposed steel-frame structure, including steel trusses over the double height spaces. In the centre is a mezzanine floor, with a perimeter glass balustrade.

The superstructure has been designed with free spans to clear span over the ground and mezzanine levels to allow full flexibility within the internal spaces, for example when floor space is required to create an event area.

The superstructure is stabilised and supported by a steel ‘sway’ frame, with columns bolted down to a series of plinths, so the base plates can be viewed as part of the ground floor finishes. The frame is supported on a reinforced concrete raft foundation with waterproof concrete retaining walls on two sides. All structural elements were modelled in Revit to ensure their accurate coordination.

The Challenges

Due to the sloping nature of the site, the building is partially set into the bank, with the kitchen area set below a paved, upper terrace. In addition an existing flint boundary wall had to be maintained as the building is sunk into the ground only 200 mm away from it. Stability of the excavation face and therefore the wall, during the works, was maintained by the contractor using a system of interlocking trench sheets and diagonal props.

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