Wiltshire. 1994

  • Project Details
  • Completion: 1994
  • Cost: £300,000
  • Clients: Private

Building on the idea of a machine in a garden, Poolhouse is a pavilion standing steadfast and compact in the grounds of an existing house, at once countering and deferring to the surrounding landscape. Its clean and simple form – borrowing cues from Queen Victoria’s bathing machine, the vernacular barn and the railway carriage – is clad in cedar, roofed in copper and punctuated by a series of carefully placed windows to either frame views or provide glimpses of the inside. Modular in image as well as in structure, its tightly-planned, split-level arrangement means that both an indoor swimming pool and guest living accommodation are contained within a single linear volume.


RIBA Award for Architecture 1996

The ‘Poolhouse’ building, completed in the summer of 1994, houses both an indoor swimming pool and living accommodation within a single linear volume that suits the function of the building.

The building’s form and construction were inspired by its location in the grounds of an existing modern house where a landscaped garden has been created by the client over the last twenty five years. Reference in the design is made to both the regional tradition of ‘Dutch barn’ construction and the image of the guesthouse as ‘the hut in the garden’. Following the example of the main house, the Poolhouse is modular in image as well as in structure.

All internal space allocations are articulated via carefully sited windows. The pool is seen through a series of ribbon windows at grade, acknowledging the clerestory of the main house. The windows not only allow enticing views of the swimming pool within, but also provide a head-height window for the swimmer.

One quarter of the pavilion’s length is dedicated to guest accommodation set on space-creating, split levels. The upper level provides a living room with kitchen area and the lower level contains two small, cellular bedrooms, bathroom and cloakroom. A secret bed deck tucked under the roof and approached from the living room serves as additional accommodation. The entrance hall swimming pool, plant rooms, shower room, sauna and Jacuzzi make up the rest of the accommodation.

Throughout the spaces the image is one of condensed living combined with clean, tight design, which is then visually pierced by window, by doorway and by linking stairway. Internally, views break up the linearity, producing context out of a simple form.

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