016 A ROOM FOR A GARDENER

SPECULATIVE PROJECT

2018
Situated in a sheltered valley in North East England, the project concerns the design of a small study and workspace for a gardener within the grounds of a large kitchen garden.

The building takes the form of a long room of narrow proportions, sufficient in scale to comfortably accommodate a single occupant. It is conceived as a building composed of two interlocking parts - a lightweight structure and a heavy base - connected in a way reminiscent of a complex timber joint. The concrete podium defines a kind of topographic condition, formed and scaled in accordance with specific practical functions: a bench for rest; a desk for study; a high worktop for manual work; a floor for general occupation.

The structure situates itself at the very edge of the site. Like a sentinel, it watches over the landscape, straddling the line between the wild terrain of the valley and the cultivated ground of the garden.

The garden-facing elevation features, at one end, a large, nearly full-height window bookended by a low bench seat; and at the other, a long corner window spanning the length of a raised work surface. At the centre of the building, a semi-circular skylight admits light into the room, illuminating a desk positioned directly beneath. Beside the desk is positioned a stove, the flue of which punctures the plywood soffit of the interior and breaks the flat line of the corrugated metal roof above. 

In distinct contrast to the garden-facing façade, the opposing elevation is highly reserved in character. A deeply recessed door is located at the termination of a set of steps forming part of the concrete podium to which the building’s timber structure is secured. A diminutive window in the shape of a half circle accompanies the entrance door, acting as a viewing aperture to the world beyond the garden.