A6A creates "haven in the middle of the city" for its Bordeaux studio


Architecture studio A6A has converted a former model-making workshop in Bordeaux into a studio for itself that is defined by pared-back materials and spaces.

Named L’Atelier, the L-shaped block was originally formed of a street-facing garage, a central garden and a large shed to the rear.

Drawn to the spatial organisation and finishes of the workshop, A6A made minimal alterations but transformed it into a series of flexible workspaces intended to “reflect the philosophy” of the studio.

View from garden within L'Atelier in BordeauxView from garden within L'Atelier in Bordeaux
A6A has converted a former model-making workshop into its own studio

“We found many resonances with our approach to the profession in this space, an ideal place to realise our vision of architecture,” said A6A.

“We wanted to design a place for experimentation and meeting, which leaves room for manual work and research,” it told Dezeen.

“[It’s] a timeless intervention in an existing building that we will never tire of over time.”

Studio interior by A6AStudio interior by A6A
The interior is defined by pared-back materials and spaces

Facing the street, the existing steel door to the garage has been retained, above which a sign with the name of the original workshop owner can still be seen.

This heavy steel door leads into L’Atelier’s model workshop and material library – an open, flexible space with a sanded concrete floor and a long birch storage wall.

Workspace at L'Atelier in FranceWorkspace at L'Atelier in France
A mezzanine with additional workspace sits above private meeting rooms

Here, original wood and glass doors to the garden have been preserved, beyond which a series of new and existing paving stones provide access to the main studio. This is accessed by a set of double-height, glass sliding doors.

“The garden appears like a haven in the middle of the city, a plant explosion which owes a lot to its original configuration and which we have come to amplify by integrating ground covers and shade plants with a tropical look,” said A6A.

In L’Atelier’s main studio space, the large volume of the existing shed has been retained, with more private areas such as meeting rooms and a toilet housed in a standalone wooden volume. A small mezzanine with additional workspaces sits above it.

The shed’s exterior walls and metal frame – the only elements that A6A could preserve – are complemented by a new roof of slender white-steel trusses and birch desks and bookshelves below.

Studio interior designed by A6AStudio interior designed by A6A
A new white-steel roof structure has been added to the shed

“Three materials dominate the project,” explained the studio.

“Each of the materials was used for its structural characteristics and the ability to do certain work ourselves: we formed and poured concrete, partly sanded the slab and entirely manufactured all the fittings in wood,” it added.

View towards garden at L'Atelier by A6AView towards garden at L'Atelier by A6A
The studio looks onto a central garden

A6A, which is known fully as Atelier 6 Architecture, was founded in Bordeaux in 2013 by Michel Hardoin, Roberto de Uña and Antoine Ragonneau. Previous projects by the studio include an off-grid and easily transportable cabin in Ustaritz, which is clad in charred planks of Douglas fir.

Other self-designed studios on Dezeen include Paul Westwood’s office in a disused garage in London and The Act of Quad’s workspace in a former library in Mumbai.

The photography is by Rory Gardiner.



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