John Brookes Exhibition, Garden Museum, Lambeth, London. 2017


A dilapidated summer house at the end of a wild London garden is renovated as a writing studio. The client’s brief was for contemporary space with a cabin-like quality. The brief evolved to embody a series of elemental additions in the language of Semper: the plinth, roof, screens and hearth alongside existing structural steels and joists that were exposed.

A stone plinth with a sunken plunge pool and reflecting pond is introduced, at once lifting the building from the garden and grounding it in the site; internally it is forms the hearth for a wood burning stove. The roofline is extended, projecting over the southern elevation as an external porch mediating between the private interior room and shared garden. A large triangular sliding rooflight opens to the sky. A series of slatted timber screens provide solar protection, separating from the distractions of the main house when closed. The slats rotate at ninety degrees between screens, casting ever shifting patterns of light and shade.

The open plan room is simply arranged as workspace and seating with a kitchen and wc concealed by timber cladding. A planted courtyard is formed between the building and garden wall with an external shower.

A simple palette of reclaimed cladding, oiled oak floorboards and hot rolled steel cabinetry that will patinate over time further enhances the tactile quality of the space.

Photography: Agnese Sanvito