Bernat Klein Studio, Selkirk Project, Studio DuB, Concrete Structure, Design, Images
Bernat Klein Studio, Borders, southern Scotland
Selkirk building, Scottish Borders, Scotland - design by Peter Womersley
Bernat Klein Studio Selkirk
Architect: Peter Womersley
Photos : Rebecca Wober
The Klein Studio
Client: Bernat Klein
Listed building consent won by Studio DuB 2002
Following a successful commission for Bernat Klein’s house completed in 1958, architect Peter Womersley was asked by Klein, a successful textile designer, to design a space for the reception of clients, designing, weaving and displaying fabric samples. Klein’s high profile clients such as the fashion house Balenciaga bought into his distinctive style typified by locally made mohair weaves shot with velvet. The studio, tucked away at the edge of a forest outside Selkirk was to become host to many national and international visitors.
Working with structural engineers Ove Arup, Womersley exercised his ambitious desire for structural flourishes and created a soaring concrete cantilevered assembly of floors for Klein, visually anchored by a central core of engineering brick. The ground floor received guests who would motor from Edinburgh and park just outside, whilst the first floor was accessed via a bridge which linked to a path wending through the forest to Klein’s own house up on higher land. This gave Klein the drama of entry down to the public ground floor, and his clients the excitement of rising up to see the vibrant wares and the view. Formally the building sits well in its context: the horizontal elements soaring into the landscape are balanced by the delicate tuning forks running vertically and echoing the adjacent slender pine trees.
In 1972 the Klein studio won both an RIBA award and the Edinburgh Architectural Association Centenary Medal. The building was widely published and made the cover of the acclaimed Japanese publication A+U in its first year of circulation. Since then it has been voted 5th best building in Scotland built in the last 50 years
After Klein’s retirement from his business the building was bought and run by Scottish Borders Enterprise, who made several changes. By the time the current owner purchased the studio it was in a sorry state: original furniture had been ripped out, flooring screeded over and the open areas had been partitioned. A lack of sensitivity for services design meant that it crawled with plastic trunking and new radiators obscured the wide stretches of glazing.
The building became Scotland’s most modern A listed building in 2002 and the current owner selected Gordon Duffy of Studio DuB (then Duffy & Batt) to bring the building back to life. The approved proposal strips the studio back to its original bones and turns it into a weekend retreat, furnished with bespoke kitchen, living areas and joinery items. The building fabric has been insulated where possible and the roof conceived as a terrace with new belvedere. Insulating the roof brought the level up and therefore a new balustrade was designed to tie in with the rhythm of the existing concrete-work.
At the present day the site work is ongoing, meanwhile Bernat Klein continues to exhibit his later oeuvre of paintings and collages at shows in his chosen homeland of the Borders.
The Klein Studio - Text © Rebecca Wober 2008
Bernat Klein Studio images / information from Studio DuB 300408
Dingleton Boiler House by architect Peter Womersley
Scottish Buildings - Selection
South Queensferry house, West Lothian
photo : Paul Zanre
South Queensferry house
image © Reiach and Hall Architects
Ettrick Valley House
Fiscavaig House, Isle of Skye
image from architects
Scottish Architect Studio
Comments / photos for the The Klein Studio page welcome:
Bernat Klein Studio Building : page - adrian welch / isabelle lomholt