In 2009 the artist-led initiative Grand Union approached Queen & Crawford with a brief to design and build 8 studios within a formerly derelict 3700sqft industrial building in Birmingham. The objectives for the project included warmth, security, good natural lighting and a strong architectural identity for the organisation. The artists expressed a desire for the studios to be designed as professional environments suitable for meetings and studio visits as well as flexible work-spaces. With Grand Unionâ€™s position in an area of redevelopment, part of the brief was that materials should be reusable in the event that the studios had to be recollected. This, combined with financial constraints, dictated that the studios be easily assembled and disassembled by their occupants.
Queen & Crawford conceived and designed the studio units as an exercise in modular, demountable construction. Components were designed that could be manufactured on-site by the artists using minimal specialized tools. The double-sided, insulated wall sections could be easily installed by two people without mechanical fixings. Glazed roof and wall sections were manufactured from multi-wall polycarbonate, making them lightweight and thermally efficient.