Art Ban of Thomas Randall-Page
Location: Devon, England
Thomas Randall-Page slides open a muted agricultural building to reveal an elegant new art space for his father, the sculptor Peter Randall-Page RA.
In 2011 Peter bought a nondescript, modern cow barn deep in the Devon countryside. He commissioned his son to convert it into an archive and store for his work. After 9 years of designing and crafting, the project is complete, and clear evidence of how architecture can benefit from being done slowly.
‘’Wood, stone, galvanised steel: the materials and technologies are simple, local and agricultural. The luxury is the time we spent talking, thinking and drawing.’’
A series of industrial scale shutters in cedar and galvanised steel playfully fold and slide, revealing a complex, multi-layered space within a mute and unassuming exterior. Inside the vast day-lit gallery, a freestanding ‘creature’ stands on stone hooves.
Known as the ‘Winter Studio’ this room-within-a-room is the project’s nerve centre. It is wrapped in a dark cork and warmed by a wood-burning stove. Beyond its door, a balcony offers long views out through the tree canopy and across the valley. As the building is re-shuttered on departure, the balcony folds back flat, effortlessly becoming part of the wall again.
The Art Barn sits on the boundary between Devon’s rolling field-scape and the steep and wooded Teign Valley in Dartmoor National Park. This 250m2 solar-powered, off-grid building will function as a drawing studio, sculpture store, archive, occasional gallery, and ultimately a permanent home for Peter’s work.
‘’Working with Thomas and my team of trusted artisans, the ‘in-house’ process was more akin to the making of a sculpture than a building, blurring conventional client-architect contractor relationships.’’
Peter Randall-Page RA
‘’Peter’s trust, enthusiasm and patience as a client gave me a unique space to invent solutions from scratch, really consider how one material meets another, and be playful with the moving elements.’’