Invisible Studio is an award winning architecture practice founded by Dr Piers Taylor. We work internationally on a range of differing typologies, but perhaps most of all we are interested in work that makes change, through a variety of means. This desire for ‘impact’ is evidenced in our completed work in projects such as ‘EAST QUAY’ arts centre which is part of wider ambition to positively affect the social, economic and cultural landscape in which the building sits. Equivalently, our work at Westonbirt, the National Arboretum demonstrates how marginalised groups can be included in the design and construction process, with a further aim of demonstrating how local home grown timber can be used in innovative ways in architecture. This is an expertise we have developed over many years, from working at Hooke Park with the Architectural Association on a number of pioneering projects such as the Assembly Workshop, to managing our own woodland for research purposes. Whilst we have numerous design awards at the highest level including multiple RIBA Awards, we have also won many sustainability awards. Our close working relationship with our clients is also celebrated: The Onion Collective CIC won the RIBA Client of the Year Award at the Stirling Prize for our East Quay project.
Our work also includes projects that push material boundaries. Timber is mentioned above with reference to Westonbirt Arboretum and Hooke Park, but our ground breaking timber projects also include our renowned ‘Moonshine’ and many of the experimental projects in our own woodland such as Ghost Barn and Trailer. We have also worked extensively with earth, hemp and stone – as evidenced in the widely published Yoga Studio and Room in a Productive Garden that both used rammed stone for their construction. Room in a Productive Garden also pushes the boundaries of glass technology, using the largest panes of glass in the world outside of Apple in California.
Founder Piers Taylor is a Chartered Architect, was the inaugural Studio Master at the Architectural Association for the Design & Make Programme at Hooke Park, a former Design Fellow at the University of Cambridge, an external examiner at the Arts University, Bournemouth, the Convenor of Studio in the Woods and holds a PhD in architecture. His PhD research (for which he received an anniversary scholarship) examines empowerment via making in architecture. He is also Professor of Knowledge Exchange at UWE.
Invisible Studio aims to be a different organisation from a conventional practice. We operate through collaboration, experimentation, research and education. We work internationally and very locally, in a variety of fields and at a variety of scales. We operate from a self built studio located in a working woodland which we also manage as an ongoing forest enterprise alongside practice, and have pioneered a number of academic programmes that rethink the relationship between design and making. We are not interested in making as a mechanism for simply providing us with some new form-making techniques which are inflected by their material realisation, but instead, in terms of how material practice can address social and political questions.
With each project, we aim to realise something extraordinary. We are interested in going about the process of architecture in a different way – a way where clients, users, collaborators and makers are all part of the process of design, and sometimes construction. More than anything, we are interested in making unusual, delightful and intelligent buildings and environments that are thorough, considered and exceptional, and have a wider consequence outside their own material actuality.
With our work, we aim to push boundaries from material research through to wider environmental concerns. We aim to tackle issues of climate change from first principles, where big issues are addressed head on. In terms of technology, we prefer to use passive principles to aid building performance, and use these principles to define the premise of a building. We are unusual in that we are ‘hands-on’ and often construct our own projects within the wider team that is Invisible Studio.
Our approach often takes the materials, available resources and skills from any given context and uses them to make buildings from. In recent years, design – to a certain degree – has become synonymous with a grotesque kind of applied luxury. We have no interest in that world of design, and our work offers in some ways an alternative, lower impact model of architecture, where design is not a luxury add on, but a process by which the most is extracted from the least through intelligent and clever thinking. We have a particular expertise with timber, and have close relationships with the world’s leading timber engineers and fabricators including Charley Brentnall who is a close collaborator of ours, and we also organise the annual Studio in the Woods which is a place where makers, architects and students collaborate on projects, paying reverence to the overlooked and the nearby.
We aim to set the standard for a new type of progressive architectural practice – a practice bound together by a shared experimental ethos, a creative organisation agile enough to reinvent itself as necessary, and a practice fearless in challenging preconceptions and making a difference.
Current/Past Invisible Studio collaborators include:
Charley Brentnall, Kate Darby, Lucien Castaing Taylor & the Sensory Ethnography Laboratory, Verena Paravel, Georgie Grant, Akos Juhasz, Neringa Stonyte, David Robinson, Alan Matthews, Tara Breen, Nozomi Nakabayashi, Holly Briggs, Steven George, Bernardo Mori, Alfie Dring, Liz Matthews, Sue Phillips, Piers Taylor, Grant Associates, Gianni Botsford, Mike Wells, Bill Gething, Imogen Taylor, Cuffer Matthews, Bernard Twist, Simon Schofield, Niki Turner, Hannah Durham, Caitlin Izard, Buro Happold, LT Studio, Greengauge, Onion Collective, Johanna Gibbons/JLG Landscape Architects, Gemma Wheeler, Nick Perchard, James Symon, Architectural Association, Louise Wray, Giovanni Meta, James Eagle, David Connor, Carpenter Oak, The Dartington Estate, Westonbirt Arboretum, AA Design & Make, The University of Reading, Mole Architects, Charles Holland, Diemante Auksoriute, Xylotek, Pearce Plus and others.
Please note that generally, we cannot take on projects that are small in scale, unless there is an experimental or research aspect, and we do not generally take on domestic alterations or additions. If you are interested in discussing a project with us, please contact us via email. We are an independent organisation and have no commercial or other links with the BBC or any broadcasts that feature Piers Taylor and regret we cannot answer direct questions regarding any television appearances by Piers Taylor, nor answer general ‘advice’ enquiries. Many thanks for your understanding.