Sunday, 22 August 2010

Three architects: temporary and small spaces give ideas for garden structures

Garden buildings - tree houses, pavillions, sheds - are an escape.  The idea of having a den is thrilling.  Secrets, solitude, dreaming. These structures tend to be simply built, made of rustic materials and small. They require space, however, because inevitably they are away from the main dwelling and normal daily life. 

This 'Beetle's House' is beautifully sited in the top lit Medieval and Renaissance room at the Victoria and Albert museum.  It is part of  their architects build small spaces exhibition.  The house could be straight out of the Moomins or Studio Ghibli, and instantly suggests magical make believe. Inside, it's a small and perfectly engineered cell with trap door/table and seats built in.  By Terunobu Fujimori.

By contrast, the Woodshed (in the same exhibition) is more of a manly lumberjack space.  The designer describes it as 'extruded':  it consists of  49 15x15 sections bolted together.  It's made of greenish wood and the long bolts that hold it together can be tightened as the timber seasons.  It's made by Rural Studio from Alabama where they provide inexpensive housing.  The pitch of the roof  is exaggerated for dramatic effect.

Jean Nouvel's pavillion at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park is a rather different temporary structure.  The red evokes iconic London (buses, phone boxes, post boxes) and contrasts with the green of the park.  It's an art world space that had a grand opening and intellectually fun events over the summer.  Witty planting - my compliments to the planting designer. Serpentine Gallery summer pavillion.

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