Mobile artists’ residence ‘The Observatory’ installed in first location on the South Downs

A mobile Artist Studio and Workshop, designed by four architecture graduates at  FCBStudios, have been installed  in their first location at the Winchester Science Centre on the South Downs. The structures sit on rotating bases that allow the artist and audience to frame the surrounding landscapes at changing viewpoints of their choice.


Providing space for artists in residence for up to two months at a time, The Study and The Workshop will move to three different locations in England’s South coast over the next two years.


Inspired by the works of Sol Le Wit and Antonello da Messina’s painting of the scholar, St Jerome in His Study, The Observatory comprises two volumetric landmarks which sit lightly within outstandingly beautiful landscapes. The two structures, The Study and The Workshop, sit on rotating bases which allow the artist and audience to frame various views, creating a changing relationship of the architectural proposal to the landscape. The Study  is a private, weather tight artist’s studio, whilst The Workshop is a space for the artist to encounter the public and present their work to them, as well as being a place for the public to enjoy. The two work together to encourage the artist and audience to interact, blurring the boundaries between public and private space.

The design aspires to articulate the collaborative process, between architecture and art, which epitomizes this competition’s ethos, with a highly crafted and distinctive proposal for The Observatory. The team have taken an aesthetic approach that is informed by the natural beauty of sustainable materials, the unique characteristics of the sites and the tripartite narrative between the resident artist, general public and wider landscape. With rigorous research, attention to detail and continued inter-disciplinary collaboration, we aimed to realise a project of exceptional design quality that creates moments of meaningful engagement between everyone that has a chance to look upon, into or out of the Observatory.


The Observatory is a project commissioned by SPUD, designed by FCBS and realised through the collaboration with skilled craftsmen, engineers and many other supporters.


Charlotte Knight: It has been a year since I asked three exceptionally talented and amazing people to join Ed and I in a competition to design a temporary artist’s studio, to which they said yes. A few days ago in the bright sunshine, after a year of hard work with many long nights, we sat on the completed front steps of The Observatory – a truly great feeling. What a fantastic journey we have all been on!”


Ross Galtress: “The Observatory has been the culmination of a year’s hard work and enthusiasm and it’s a delight to see it realised.”


Lauren Shevills: Our shared interest in material experimentation has provided an excellent platform for the design team to develop The Observatory. As graduates we could not have completed the project without the invaluable mentoring and support we have received here at FCBStudios”


Mina Gospavic: “The Observatory began as a compelling silhouette on paper that was made material by its charred flesh and animated by its motion. I am excited to see how the relationships between the artists, public and landscapes evolve in the next two years.”


Peter Clegg, Senior Partner of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios: “We are delighted that Charlotte, Mina, Ross , Lauren and Edward not only won the SPUD competition but have been able to deliver the project. It’s been a great opportunity for them to test out first hand their design, research and construction skills. Seeing a small project like this through from design to completion is a great project for new graduates. We look forward to benefitting from their newly acquired skills!”


Philip Smith from SPUD said “Collaboration and learning are at the heart of SPUD’s work and our projects would not be possible without the commitment, support and expertise of our project partners. We are delighted to be working with the highly creative FCBS team on the Observatory project”


The temporary structures will move to four different locations in England’s South coast and will house multidisciplinary artists in residence for up to two months at a time.




For further information and high resolution images please contact Holly Mansergh at FCBStudios
[email protected]
01225 852545