Charlie Dark needed a new music studio. The only problem was his tiny London back yard was only 15m2, and his family needed to keep their outdoor space for bicycles, drying clothes, practising yoga and occasionally sunbathing. The wedge-shaped ‘Shudio’ was born.
Sanchia and Charlie needed more space in their London terraced cottage, because 20 years of bachelor life meant Charlie’s music equipment, skateboard art collection and records took over nearly every room. The brief was to create a super shed in the back yard to be Charlie’s music studio and zen space, so that his children and partner could also live in the house without climbing over piles of records.
The back yard was 15m2 only. The budget was £10,000 only. The building could be no higher than 2.5m high. And despite all this the client needed something which felt part of his own creative aesthetic: nice enough to look at from the kitchen, and also suitable for being covered in street art at a later date.
The design works in plan by placing a large triangular floor into the right hand corner of the yard. This means that i) daylight and direct sunshine can reach ground level even between the cluster of houses it sits within (allowing summer sun worship and clothes drying to continue); and ii) a trick of perspective allows the front face of the cabin to recede from view, leaving a large portion of visible sky.
This gives Charlie and his family a sense of the studio moving away in space when seen from the kitchen, where they spend most of their time. Charlie often says that he completely forgets the structure is there, because it’s so stealthy! Construction materials were purchased directly by the client and assembled on site by his builder to keep costs down.
The black rubber paint applied is normally used for cars and motorbikes and saved £4,000 on EDPM cladding. The studio was raised off the floor to allow for ventilation and the warm roof construction allowed for the internal rafters to remain exposed, tricking the occupier into feeling there is more headroom. Window quotes were ruthlessly negotiated between rival companies until the price was reduced by one third.
Charlie Dark is a DJ, creative influencer and poet from East London. He founded the highly successful Run Dem Crew in 2007, an alternative running club made up of creative minds that meet weekly to exchange ideas, explore the urban landscape and move. Committed to the change and upliftment of the next generation Run Dem Crew works closely with young people across London providing mentoring and advice along with the opportunity to explore London in a safe, unique, positive and supportive environment.
Through his poetry, community activism and initiatives with Run Dem Crew he has created a space for people of all ages to come together, express themselves and explore their full potential. His work connects communities and encourages togetherness as well as providing people with the skills to navigate and survive the daily challenges of life.