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Bench 1 at Watts Gallery

A woodland auditorium at Watts Gallery Artists’ Village.

Bench 1 is the newest addition to Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, based in Compton, Surrey. The woodland auditorium, designed by Practice Architecture, sits below  Limnerslease and the Studios. The raised douglas-fir amphitheatre can accommodate up to 70 people and creates an enclosed visual and acoustic environment. You may have seen Bench 1 before at the New Art Centre in Salisbury, Frensham Height’s School and Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland.

Everyone is welcome to explore Bench 1 whilst visiting Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, it’s a lovely spot to sit, pause and reflect amongst nature.

How was Bench 1 designed and made?

Practice Architecture’s work often occupies a space between art and architecture, and the act of building and making has a strong relationship with the overall design, this sits alongside our founders, G F and Mary Watts’s, ethos of art incredibly well. Practice Architecture have a hands on approach – designing structures with the process of creating them in mind – the feel of the materials, the structural sequence, how the team will work together to build and find the process rewarding. Working with volunteers, teaching, learning and sharing building-skills is also an important part of the process. To produce this Bench 1, Practice Architecture continued their long-standing partnership with Oscar Cooper of Lignin Builds Ltd., a construction company who work collaboratively to prioritise low-embodied carbon construction methods and the well-being of its team. Bench 1 is designed for a team of four to construct within three weeks, using simple materials and techniques. The process of construction is celebrated in the look and feel of the finished design.

Keep an eye on Watts Gallery Artists’ Village website and social media for more updates on Bench 1 including future events.


Bench 1 can be found in the Limnerslease Woodland at the Watts Gallery Artists’ Village, Down Lane, Compton, Surrey, GU3 1DQ
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