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Groves Natcheva completes garden hideaway for artists

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A 75m² garden structure in Fulham houses two studios and doubles up as a guest house

The stand-alone pavilion was designed for an artist couple who live in the main house, which Groves Natcheva has already renovated. 

The structure also doubles up as a guest house, and comprises of three distinct spaces – a central one and two flanking rooms with attached washrooms. The central space contains a kitchen and a woodburning stove, which provides a literal hearth around which the structure is focused, while there are views back to a small courtyard behind the main house. 

Fullsizerender 540

Architect’s view

The client approached us in early 2017 after we completed the refurbishment of their main house in Fulham.

It was important for the client to have a structure which was sensitive to the overgrown vegetation and retain – as well as enhance – the wild, natural feel of the garden. The artistic background of the clients meant that we were encouraged to be creative with the project in every sense, from exposing the beauty of a simple structure to exploring the patination of materials or the flow of rainwater down a drain pipe. It was a joy to work with a client who thinks of architecture as an art.

We chose to expose the structure and render the constituting materials to their most natural aged form. For example, the steel beams were carefully rusted in the garden until they obtained just the right amount of patination, ready to be sealed. The structural timber beams were handpicked for their appearance and stained afterwards, like a painting, to achieve an aged look. Light fittings and switches, timber floor and wall cladding, Crittall windows and brick walls were all chosen to look like they belong to an overgrown garden.

The pavilion is sunk by a metre, so that it can appear smaller from the outside and create the feeling of immersion in nature from within. Curved features on the façade and stairs give a feeling of frivolity, appropriate for a garden structure. Room is left all around the structure, away from the garden wall, to give the feeling of space and air in all rooms, and to allow for the dramatic shadows in that part of the garden.

Japanese rain chains take water from the roof, which in spring will be covered in grass. Grass lawn and vegetation are allowed right up to the pavilion, and it is intended that the garden reclaims the lost space and encloses the new structure entirely, making it a secret hideaway for creative work.

Adriana Natcheva, co-founder, Groves Natcheva Architects 

Presentation ground floor plan copy

Project data

Start on site July 2017 
Completion January 2018 
Gross internal floor area 75m²
Form of contract Standard JCT
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Groves Natcheva Architects
Client Private 
Structural engineer Martin Redston Associates
Quantity surveyor Marshall Kenny
CDM coordinator Groves Natcheva Architects
Approved building inspector RBC Ltd
Main contractor Broseley London Ltd
CAD software used Microstation
Annual CO2 emissions 9.6 tonnes (estimated)  

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