Project: Reading Room
Architects: George King Architects
Builder: Chappell & Dix
Structural Engineer: Davies Torres Design
Furniture Consultant: Harris & Harris
Location: The Cotswolds, England
Photo Credits: George King Architects
The single room extension is designed as a flexible space that will allow the client to enjoy their tranquil garden setting all year round. Located on the side of Uley Bury, an Iron Age hill fort and scheduled ancient monument, the site also falls within a conservation area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The key design feature of this small extension to a 17th century cottage is its glass walls which can disappear entirely behind three timber bookcases. The bookcases also form the vertical structure of the building, supporting a cantilevered green roof. This design allows the walls of the building to vanish entirely, creating a surreal outdoor living room. The unsupported roof corner allows the space to bleed into the garden, which has been transformed into a series of landscaped terraces, whilst the bookcases frame views across the valley to the hills beyond.
Creating a strong relationship between the old and the new on this sensitive site was a key driver to the design. The new extension is clad in charred timber to reference the original dark stained windows, Victorian iron work and wooden beams of the cottage while the interior finishes are light birch plywood to complement the existing Cotswold stone walls. These walls were in a poor condition having been painted previously and so were restored by stripping off the paint, repointing and repairing where necessary in order to expose the beautiful Cotswold stone and add warmth and texture to the cottage.
The Reading Room project also includes the design of a set of bespoke furniture formed from plywood to match the interior. The modular design adds to the flexibility of the space by allowing the client to reconfigure the arrangement and move the furniture inside or outside depending on the weather.