Before the recent renovation work, Porthmeor had a total of 13 studios. The design brief asked for options to increase the number of studios, both by sympathetically subdividing some of the larger studios as well an investigating possibilities of adding additional floor space.
The architects spent their first week on the project by spending several hours in each studio, drawing it, talking to the tenant and observing how each space was used. Based on these observations, they suggested that four additional studios could be created by subdividing existing studios. They also proposed that two new studios could be formed, but these only received the approval of English Heritage and the Conservation Officer following prolonged discussions and compromises.
The first new studio, Studio 14 (now named the Roy Ray Studio), was built on top of Studio 10 (Images 1 – 4). It is occupied by the St Ives School of Painting, allowing them to operate in two adjacent studios.
Studio 6 is a very high space (c7.5m) and the second new studio (Studio 17) was created in this roof space (Images 5 – 6), with a new dormer (Image 7) to sit alongside Studios 1 and 2. The discussions with English Heritage were more complex for this studio because it required cutting through part of the roof structure, but this was approved only after modifications were made to the plans.