The Garden House

RIBA London Award 2019

The Garden House, as its name implies, lies within a leafy oasis – one so secluded and so concealed that it evokes the charm of a remote rural sanctuary. The house is approached from the street through an opening in a privet hedge which leads to a grove of cut-leaf staghorn sumac under whose feathery canopy lies an understory of grasses, Christmas box and periwinkle. This winding path in turn leads to a gate which opens to a boardwalk set in a canyon-like corridor flanked on both sides by bamboo grasses and ferns, terminating in a small glade that forms the entrance court to the house. Here the house erupts from the ground, crowned by a copper tented roof. The entrance court has a single tree - a London plane - and drifts of bamboo underplanted with rodgersia, soft rush, barrenwort, mind-your-own-business, lady’s mantle, hellebore, honey bush and butcher’s broom that envelope a terrace paved in large slabs of Carrara marble cut to a serpentine profile. The walls of the house’s pair of sunken courts are draped with wisteria, crimson glory vine, maidenhair vine and silver-veined creeper.