Peter Womersley: Modernist architect, sculptor of concrete, creator of spaces, master of detail. In 1972 Womersley completed what is likely his most celebrated work, the Bernat Klein Design Studio near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders.
A multi award-winning, A-listed building the Studio was commissioned, owned and occupied by Womersley’s client, textile designer Bernat Klein, a man who introduced vibrant colour into the Scottish textile scene selling his rich textured tweeds to Chanel, Christian Dior, Nina Ricci and Yves Saint Laurent amongst many others.
The Bernat Klein Studio won an RIBA award in 1973 for its design and exemplary use and combination of the materials of concrete, brick, steel and glass.
This concrete masterpiece, built over two floors with its cantilevered horizontals and extensive frameless glazing, is elegantly tethered to the sloping wooded countryside by a first-floor walkway and bridge leading to the Klein family home, High Sunderland (1957), itself another Womersley masterpiece. The building reveals itself slowly through the trees as the viewer drives past on the nearby A707. Driving by during his tenure, flashes of bold vibrant colours could be seen as Klein hung his magnificent abstract paintings on the walls. This was a true design studio in every sense.
“(they) harmonise with the landscape… (with) lots of windows from floor to roof, to reflect the trees and garden around…”
Sold in the early 1990s,the Studio served as office space until the early 2000s when it was acquired with the idea of converting it into a residential dwelling. After an initial positive flurry of development activity, the Studio has spent most of the 21st century awaiting this repurposing. It is now in need of much restoration if it is to survive: burst pipes, flooding, broken windows, neglected metalwork and unfinished repair work have left it in a precarious state.
We’re a small group of people with a genuine passion for the work of Peter Womersley. Joining with the Womersley and Klein families, the families of the architect’s close friends, professionals, public figures and enthusiasts, we want to raise awareness of the Bernat Klein Design Studio and its architectural, cultural and historical importance: add your name to our list of supporters and help us achieve our goal: above all, help us engage with the owner to see it restored and preserved in its original form.
"not a day of my life goes past without my appreciating the sheer beauty and elegance of High Sunderland.”