Weathered copper studio by Stonewood Design is also a hide for wildlife watching

Embedded in the garden of an English countryside cottage, this small studio with a green roof and rusty copper walls creates a secluded spot for deer-watching (+ slideshow).

Myrtle Cottage Garden Studio was designed by Bath-based Stonewood Design to give its owners a space to work, sew, play guitar or nap, but it also offers a space to hide away and observe the woodland wildlife.

“The project has been accepted by the local deer community, who have been spotted wandering over and around the Garden Studio – a testament to the concept,” explained the architects.

The building, which was among yesterday’s RIBA Award winners, is located in the small woodland hamlet of Conkwell, near Bath, which was built to house workers from the local limestone quarries.

This honey-coloured stone was used to construct many of the region’s original residences, including a 17th-century farmhouse that was recently renovated by the studio.

By contrast, Stonewood Design chose panels of pre-patinated copper for the facade of the garden studio, giving the building an earthen-coloured facade.

This cladding is speckled with corrosion that helps to blend the structure with the landscape – a helpful camouflaging tactic for wildlife watching.

Taking reference from other rural structures, the studio is partially sunken into the ground in the style of a ha-ha – a traditional countryside boundary created by digging a ditch. This type of boundary is designed so as not to interrupt scenic views.

“The key driver to achieving the brief was to create a design which worked seamlessly with the natural forms and levels of the garden, in order that an architecture is created which is less of a building and more of a landscape,” said the architects.

Planting on the roof and a pair of stone retaining walls on either side of the studio further help to embed the structure in the site.

“The intensive planted roof disappears into the flora of its surroundings,” added the team.

Windows are positioned to maximise the views from the site, framing vistas of the woodland and across the valley to the American Museum in the nearby city of Bath. The angled windows create an irregular zigzag-shaped facade.

Inside, a long oak table is fixed at windowsill level, while a small wood-burning stove, neutrally upholstered sofa bed and cupboards are integrated into an oak-lined wall.

One door in the wall opens into a wet-room with copper and concrete fittings. Both the bathroom and cupboard doors feature recessed rectangular finger pulls.

Skylights positioned above the sofa and bathroom sink let light in through the green roof, but are also designed to frame views of the trees overhead.

Site plan – click for larger image
Floor plan – click for larger image
Site section – click for larger image
Detailed section – click for larger image

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