British Listed Buildings

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The Studio, Ulting

Description: The Studio

Grade: II
Date Listed: 3 July 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1408257

OS Grid Reference: TL8041508966
OS Grid Coordinates: 580425, 208965
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7503, 0.6124

Locality: Ulting
Local Authority: Maldon District Council
County: Essex
Country: England
Postcode: CM9 6QX

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Listing Text


A pair of flat-roofed buildings comprising a house and a studio with car port, built for the artist Humphrey Spender in 1968-9 by Richard and Su Rogers, assisted by John Young and the engineer Anthony Hunt.

Reason for Listing

The Studio, Ulting, a house and studio of 1968-9 by Richard and Su Rogers, and the engineer Anthony Hunt, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons.
* Architectural Interest: a very early steel-framed house in England, significant for developing the lightweight Californian aesthetic here. The bracing shows the novelty of the system in Britain which was not repeated in later houses;
* Architect: it is the first independent work by Richard and Su Rogers following the dissolution of their practice with Norman Foster and the first house by the engineer Anthony Hunt, who became a specialist engineer of steel-framed houses working with a number of different architects;
* Historic Interest: The Studio was commissioned by the renowned photographer, Humphrey Spender, who worked on Mass Observation in the 1930s and became a teacher at the Royal College of Art, where he was introduced to Rogers;
* Alterations: The Studio is little altered externally and internally;
* Rarity: a rare example of an entirely steel-framed house in England.


The house and studio were built on the site of an orchard which lay to the rear of the Old Vicarage, the family home of Humphrey Spender (1910-2005), a renowned photographer, textile designer and painter who had qualified as an architect before teaching at the Royal College of Art until retiring in 1975. One of his students knew a talented young architect who might be suitable for the project to build a home and workplace for later life, with easy access to the outdoors and with the benefit of new technology. The architect was Richard Rogers, who with his wife Su designed The Studio soon after they had set up their own practice in 1967 following the disbanding of Team 4 (Richard and Su Rogers, Norman and Wendy Foster and Georgie Walton).

The Studio is little altered.


MATERIALS: steel frames, corrugated steel panels to the walls and roofs and concrete slab floors.

PLAN: the two buildings have a rectangular plan and are separated by a courtyard garden.

EXTERIOR: both buildings are of a single storey with flat roofs. Each has an external structure of three, yellow, freestanding 14m clear-span, rigid, welded steel portal frames in standard steel sections braced with diagonal steel tension rods. The flat roofs are covered with plastic-coated corrugated steel, which stiffens the portal frames of the building, covered with insulation, felt and chippings.

The House: the house is accessed from the east, through the car port and across the courtyard. The long east and west elevations are single-glazed units, subdivided with vertical glazed panels in white nylon-coated aluminium frames; each elevation has four, side-hung doors. The shorter north and south elevations are windowless, corrugated steel panels, insulated with plaster board.

The Studio and Car Port: the entrance to the Studio is on the south side, in the car port, between a small store and W.C. External walls are windowless, corrugated steel panels, insulated with plaster board. The roof has a triangular, projecting, steel-framed skylight running from east to west.

INTERIOR: The House: the large living/dining room with a central free-standing stove occupies approximately a third of the floor space and is accessed from the entrance lobby on the east elevation. To the north of the living room is a narrower strip divided between study and guest bedroom, both opening directly onto the living space. Beyond is the service core comprising the kitchen and bathroom with a further two intercommunicating bedrooms. Sliding partitions instead of doors create an open plan feel.

The original colour scheme remains; white-painted plaster boards and purple, full-height sliding doors. The underside of the corrugated steel roof forms the ceiling. Epoxy floors remain in the kitchen and bathroom; these rooms are simply fitted. The original, extendable wall lights remain.

The Studio and Car Port: the Studio space is divided in two by a sliding wooden partition running from north to south. It has fibreboard walls, corrugated steel ceiling and a resin-covered concrete floor.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.