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Local architects Austin Design Works secure planning permission for contemporary garden pavilion in historic setting

PUBLISHED: 12:42 12 March 2019

A mock-up of the contemporary garden pavilion in Lower Somerford

A mock-up of the contemporary garden pavilion in Lower Somerford

Archant

"Securing planning permission for a new building like this in a listed setting is a real achievement in what is an historic village setting."

Gloucestershire practice Austin Design Works has secured planning permission for a contemporary garden pavilion in the grounds of a historic, riverside rectory in Wiltshire.

The structure, designed to be the focal point for family entertaining, completes a scheme to link the main 16th century house with dedicated ‘play’ spaces running down to the property’s picturesque river frontage in Great Somerford.

Director Rachael Austin, who runs Nailsworth-based Austin Design Works with her brother Matt, was initially called to design an outside-in scheme, with the large garden as the focal point.

But as the clients shifted to a more inclusive scheme, incorporating a modern extension to the listed property as well as a wholesale remodelling of the garden, the idea for a contemporary garden structure took shape.

“Initially, the client asked us to create a garden room,” said Rachael, a Chartered Landscape Architect and member of the Society for Garden Designers.

“But the more we looked at it, the more it made sense to create a standalone building in the garden, to make the most of the river frontage and encourage people to really use the whole of the garden.”

The scheme, which includes a relaxed seating area on decking surrounding an ancient tree; petanque and croquet lawns; a fire pit and several seating areas makes the most of the evening sun and ensures a real connection between the house and garden.

The entertainment pavilion, complete with living roof and solar panels, will see the renovation of an old brick terrace, construction of a timber-framed pergola and a revamped stone wall enclosing a barbecue area with far-reaching views across the river.

The oak shingle-clad garden room, with a distinct snug or den-like feel, will boast panoramic views across the paddock, across park rail fencing to the river beyond, while a garden kitchen opens up on to a south-facing terrace.

Roof lights project ever-changing southern light into the roof space and woodland planting will ensure the building sits seamlessly in the landscape for generations to come.

“This is part of a much larger scheme, creating a beautiful courtyard garden next to the main house along with sunken seating areas, entertaining spaces, pathways, water troughs, a ha ha and vegetable gardens, all surrounded by low walls and soft planting,” said Rachael.

“We spent a long time studying historic maps, working out what outbuildings had been there historically, and found greenhouses and potting sheds which bore no relation to the house but which gave us an historic precedent to develop a building in the garden.

“This garden room will replace some of these long-gone buildings, but will make a clear connection to the house, creating a real destination in the garden.

“Securing planning permission for a new building like this in a listed setting is a real achievement in what is an historic village setting.”

Visit the Austin Design Works website here.

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