Garden building, Mereworth,
Kent, UK, 2010

The brief was to create a pavilion that would house a 15m heated swimming pool with associated changing facilities, a gymnasium and facilities for entertaining guests within the extensive grounds of a Grade I listed country house. 

Located to the west of the house the pavilion provides a backdrop to the formal planting beds and landscape terracing and establishes connections to the outbuildings to the east of the house. A colonnade and entablature reference the classical eighteenth and nineteenth century garden building tradition, while evoking modernist representations of forms of archaic shelter, as explored in early 20th century Scandinavian architecture. The colonnade is formed by 4.5m tall, five-sided chamfered columns, each adapted and positioned with a different orientation on each side of the building. Their upright proportion and spacing quietly reflect the proportions between brickwork and window architrave on the west face of the main house and their chamfered form creates a rich play of shadows on the surface. 

The pavilion is accessed from the main house across the landscaped garden and through a 60m long tunnel - a linear gallery lined in deep green felt and low-level lighting to enhance its subterranean atmosphere, which widens in places to create places to pause. Natural light is introduced through a window into the pool, where the effect is of gently filtered changing light patterns caused by the movement of water.

Project duration: 2008-2010
Contract value: £1.3 million
Gross internal area: 575 m2