An existing rural family farmhouse has been extended to provide additional spaces for residential retreat and creative work. The scale and composition of the existing main house could not sustain any further adaptations, and so two pavilions were created as distinct and separate buildings within the landscape.

The first pavilion is designed as a ‘hermitage’ – self-sufficient guest suite containing a bedroom, bathroom and a small kitchen. It is conceived as a singular, square, oak-lined room given orientation by a single large window overlooking a beautiful man-made lake and small island. Externally, the pavilion is made from horizontally board-marked, in-situ concrete and is embedded into the steeply sloped banks of the lake, giving it an archaic, almost geological character. The suite is only accessible from the existing main house, via a 3m diameter, 40m-long, galvanised-steel underground tunnel. An oak jetty is suspended over the lake as an extension of this very special and secluded experience.

The second pavilion is intended to be of very different architectural character and used for an artist’s studio to make sculpture. It uses a dilapidated eighteenth century farm building which was all-but destroyed, apart from a few parts of its existing perimeter brick walls. Rather than demolish its last remains, it was felt that the unselfconscious character and handmade quality to the existing brickwork structure would be the correct starting point to create a space for making art. The form of the old house was reconstructed, making the distinction of old and new very clear, but appearing coherent as a completed whole.

Existing brickwork has been retained and the figure of the original walls has been completed inside-and-out in polished in situ concrete. A new plate-steel roof with a very elemental expression to the large studio hall inside balances on the repaired structure and overhangs the existing footprint to create covered outside spaces to work. Its structure is balanced on four large windows which are organised to specific views and topographical levels of the surrounding farmland. The marsh landscape will eventually envelope the perimeter of the building, leaving only the steel roof emerging visible above the long grasses.

source: Carmody Groarke