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The most common small project an architect can be asked to design is a garden room. In this instance the site is the rear of an Edwardian terraced house and we were able to persuade our client not to place it in the garden at all - but rather where a bathroom had been above the kitchen in order to see an extraordinary panorama of Edinburgh available only from this height.
The extremely limited space was amplified by incorporating into it the thickness of the stone walls. A window seat occupies the plan of one wall and is constructed out of 'stick on stick' timber construction cantilevered and expressed out from its base. A steel structure was attached to the exterior and this supports an overhanging lead roof leaving the south and west walls free to accommodate a system of sliding windows. The windows can be slid back on the exterior so that from inside they appear to disappear - and the room can consequently be transformed into a deep veranda.
Light is brought deep into the plan by a generous roof light running along the party wall and underneath is placed a 'secret staircase' for quick access to the kitchen below. This together with voids between the two spaces allows a conversation to be continued between the upstairs and downstairs. The wall to the existing staircase is cut to allow constant contact between this space and the new room and above a much larger staircase window was constructed to throw light deep into the plan of the existing house and through which it is now possible to see distant Edinburgh Castle.
The building was completed in 1991.
1992 RIBA Award
1992 EAA Silver Medal Award