We created a summer house in the grounds of a building designed by and for a renowned modernist architect.
Our clients, who wish to remain anonymous, are both acclaimed artists. They approached Simon Fraser to create a new summer house and together they developed the concept of a new building formed from two interlocking cubes distinguished by a clerestory and angled obtusely, one extending to float above the slope of the site.
The site lies within the Blackheath conservation area; the listed modernist house, mature planting and topography of the garden provide a rich context to which the new building responds.
In locating the new summer house, our brief was to work around the existing landscape and mature trees; as a result, it occupies the sloping south-east corner of the site and faces out to the west, towards the house and garden, maximising afternoon light.
The new building is formed from two interconnected volumes, each of which provide different spatial qualities. A solid form appears to float above the slope of the site; slot windows providing glimpses into the treescape beyond. A more transparent volume addresses the lawn, with bifolding doors leading on to a timber decking providing a physical connection to the landscape.
The building, constructed by Ecoism with structural design by Built Engineers, is highly insulated and airtight and has been wrapped in natural materials reflective the landscape setting. Copper panels on the ‘solid’ volume were patinated by the artists and respond to rainfall and changing weather conditions.
The design arose through close consultation with the artists as well as the local planning authority and civic groups. The summer house was completed in September 2011.