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The Barge

Type: Commercial office space

Location: Penryn, Cornwall

Status: Complete

Collaboration: Mark and Loz Shipwrights, Eleanor Bell


A floating office for a fresh thinking company

Robotmother had a vision. They saw a space that could handle every element of their Jubilee Wharf business – from maintenance rooms to bunking space for visiting bands and a mezzanine level office space. They just happened to see all this on a boat. And we made it our mission to make it happen.

The Brief

Laying in the shipyard and being used as an ancillary working platform at the docks, this WWII Ferro concrete barge had seen better years. But Andrew, of Robotmother felt compelled to bring it back to life.

Joining the project once construction had already begun, our flexibility and quick thinking was key to seeing the client’s vision through into the design and build. Lending our ears and experience, we walked with Andrew through the drawings by a local designer. Before long we had an idea for a new concept for this commercial project, which would take the plans significantly off course – but for the better.

The Interpretation

We worked with a brilliant team of builders, making sure all of our ideas could be seen through safely and effectively, with rigorous materials testing.

As floating structures don’t need planning or building regulations, we reveled in the design freedom this landscape presented. However, where there were opportunities there were also challenges – so this had to be a flexible process where we bent to fit what was possible whilst still creating something exceptional. We incorporated sustainable solutions and chose materials that would stand the test of time – and nature. Building in a biomass boiler, compost toilet, aluminium windows and resin structures, we made good with the environment whilst bracing the building against anything the sea might throw at it.
“The project has been a real success and is a good environment to work in.”

The Outcome

From the moment the first roof panels were laid to the day we sailed the structure into position, it was an exhilarating process to be part of. The result: a bold new working environment that gets people talking and minds whirring.

“We have used Marraum for two unique & demanding construction projects – an office construction on top of a 1941 concrete barge hull, and the conversion of a 1950s warehouse to high quality studio space. Marraum provided visionary architectural skills, as well as an attention to detail and perseverance through the whole construction process. The spaces we have created with Marraum have surpassed all the design criteria we established at the projects’ inception, and have been admired and enjoyed by all who encounter them. I would have no hesitation in recommending their services, or using them for future projects.” Andrew Marston, Robotmother