Time-off place: A Room in the Garden by Studio Ben Allen
Client: Jonnie and Rachel Allen
Architects: Studio Ben Allen
Location: London (GB)
A family with two children was gradually outgrowing their apartment in southwest London, and thus their wish for additional space became stronger and stronger over time. Yet they wanted to put off moving out to the suburbs. In the end, the family had a garden pavilion designed for work, play, study and sleep.
The result is playful in design, like a folly in a British landscape park, and comes with an octagonal footprint and a pyramidal roof with a flat, hexagon-shaped top into which a square skylight is set. A skin of green shingles clads the exterior, camouflaging the structure among the garden plants. In winter the wood of the inner surfacing creates a feeling of warmth, while in summer French windows open up the structure to the garden.
The London-based Studio Ben Allen designed the project for self-assembly. All the components – shaped with the help of a CNC mill for interlocking – were delivered in flatpacks to the construction site. In other words, no wet processes were involved in assembly and nor was there any need for further measuring-up work – rather, two people had the pavilion up and standing in two days. A further four days were required for installing the outer skin of shingles and the underfloor heating, and another four days were taken up by two people installing the internal linings and furniture. Merely two contractors were required for the electrical installations and spray foam insulation.
All the building components are practically VOC-free in terms of both fabrication and use. Very little dust was released in erecting the structure thanks to the architects’ approach, which let them meet the clients’ wishes on the one hand while leading the way with an example of healthier and more environmentally-friendly construction sites on the other. “The Room in the Garden“ can be completely dismantled and re-erected at another site – in other words, should the clients indeed move out to the suburbs one day, they will be able to take their extra room along with them.