Zaha Hadid opens drawing studio in Bournemouth - with a flourish of her pen

Peter Cook’s first building in the UK was opened by Zaha Hadid in a ceremony also attended by Mike Davies, the former RSHP partner.

The drawing studio was built at Cook’s alma mater, now known as the Arts University Bournemouth.

Designed with the Archigram founder’s new practice, CRAB (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau), it is the country’s first purpose-built drawing studio for a century.

It is part of a £17 million development project at the university which also includes photography and student services buildings by Winchester-based Design Engine.

Both Cook and Hadid made speeches and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performed. Then Hadid tried out the space, using one of the easels to declare the building open (see image).

Cook wrote the citation for Hadid’s RIBA Gold Medal which she was awarded this year.

The drawing room will be open to students on any course so that architects, animators, etchers, artists and costume designers can collaborate and share with those from other creative fields.

It has been designed to reflect the central theme of light in the tradition of looking and drawing, said Cook.

There is a large north-light in the studio tradition, a rear clerestory that throws a softer light back from the rear wall, as well as softer lighting from the east and a graded wash of light that comes along the curve of the entrance.

Cook said: “As an alumnus of AUB, I am deeply honoured that this university, where I learnt my craft, is now home to my first building in the UK.

“The studio represents a fundamental recognition of the importance of drawing for all creative subjects. When it came to the design of the studio I wanted to ensure I created a space which all students, from all disciplines – be it fashion design, graphic design, fine art, or architecture like me – could make use of and feel inspired in.”

Vice-chancellor Stuart Bartholomew said the space would allow them to “reassert the centrality of drawing” to the subjects they offer.

“We believe the simplicity of the monocoque construction will allow the act of drawing to become a calm and considered activity within the lively world of a very busy creative institution,” he said.