Porthmeor Artist’s Studio and Fishermen’s Cellar

King Shaw Associates provided the environmental design and engineering for the refurbishment of the studios at Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, one of the longest established artists’ colonies in the UK.

The ramshackle collection of buildings grew out of lofts located behind the sea wall and used by pilchard fishermen for repairing their nets and storing their catch. In the latter part of the 19th Century artists began to cohabit with the fishermen as they discovered the extraordinary coastal light. The community has grown over the years to encompass a number of cottages in addition to the lofts.

The building fabric has been repaired and upgraded to make the buildings watertight and windproof. Thermal insulation has been incorporated to the maximum extent possible.

The building services are very low key, in keeping with the found nature of the spaces. Background central heating is provided to protect the buildings against cold damage, but the artists can choose to heat their studios or not through the use of wood burning stoves.

Client: Borlase Wells Trust
Value: £1,800,000
Architect: Long & Kentish
Awards: 2014 RIBA South West Regional Award, 2014 RICS South West Building Conservation Award, 2014 RICS South West Project of the Year