The client approached us in early 2017 after we completed the refurbishment of their main property in Fulham, London. They were thrilled with the house and the architectural changes, which we made to radically alter the way it was inhabited. The house design was published in the February 2017 issue of House & Garden, making the cover under a largely interior design feature.
The new brief called for a stand-alone structure in the garden, which could house two artist studios for the couple, both of whom are artists. Programmatically, it also needed to double up as a guest house. It was important for the client to have a structure, which was sensitive to the overgrown vegetation and retain – as well as enhance – the wild natural feel of the garden. The artistic background of the clients meant that we were encouraged to be creative with the project in every sense – from exposing the beauty of a simple structure to exploring the patination of materials or the flow of rainwater down a rain pipe. It was a joy to work with a client who thinks of architecture as an art.
We chose to expose the structure and render the constituting materials to their most natural aged form. For example, the steel beams were carefully rusted in the garden until they obtained just the right amount of patination, ready to be sealed. The structural timber beams were hand picked for their appearance and stained afterwards, like a painting, to achieve an aged look. Light fittings and switches, timber floor and wall cladding, crittall windows and brick walls were all chosen to look like they belong to an overgrown garden.
The pavilion is sunk by a metre, so that it can appear smaller from the outside and create the feeling of immersion in nature from within. Curved features on the facade and stairs give a feeling of frivolity, appropriate for a garden structure. Room is left all around the structure, away from the garden wall, to give the feeling of space and air in all rooms, and to allow for the dramatic shadows in that part of the garden.
Internally, there are three distinct spaces – middle and two flanks with two wash rooms. A working fire and a kitchen in the middle space create the hearth, which has views to the main house and back towards a small lit courtyard pulled away from the rear garden wall of the property.
Japanese rain chains take water from the roof, which in spring will be covered in grass. Grass lawn and vegetation are allowed right up to the pavilion and it is intended that the garden reclaims the lost space and encloses the new structure entirely, making it a secret hideaway for creative work.
Construction by Broseley London Ltd Images by Barney Cokeliss
GROVES NATCHEVA ARCHITECTS
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