Neighbourhood Playhouse

On my way home from work today I was daydreaming about my plans for Pajo’s Beach Hut when the Dovecote Studio by Haworth Tompkins popped into my head. The studio itself while beautifully made is not really an appropriate precedent for the beach hut, but what I really like about Dovecote is the brick ruin inside which it is placed, and the contrast this sets up against the corten. I’ve been thinking about the possibility of doing something similar for a little project of my own, and as chance would have it (and yet again) I have the perfect site in mind! Next door to my parent’s house in Cork is a little cottage ruin that has been derelict for as long as they’ve lived there. It seems there must have been a fire once upon a time as the roof is completely gone, but the walls remain and even some old features, like a 1950’s fireplace and even some sash windows as far as I can remember.

Here’s what  HT say about the project;

The creative campus at Snape Maltings was founded by Benjamin Britten in derelict industrial buildings on the Suffolk coast.  The new form expresses the internal volume of the Victorian structure as a Cor-ten steel ‘lining’, a welded monocoque that was prefabricated and craned into position.

A large north light roof window provides even light for artists, while a small mezzanine platform with a writing desk incorporates a fully opening glazed corner window that gives long views over the marshes towards the sea. The single volume will be used by artists in residence, by musicians as rehearsal or performance space, by staff for meetings or as a temporary exhibition space. Only the minimum necessary brickwork repairs were carried out to stabilise the existing ruin prior to the new structure being inserted. Decaying existing windows were left alone and vegetation growing over the dovecote was protected to allow it to continue a natural process of ageing and decay. The interior walls and ceiling of the space are lined with spruce plywood to create a timber ‘box’ within the Cor-ten shell.

Regarding my project, the site occupies a patch of wasteground in front of a farmyard, but is very much in the centre of a community, a community that perhaps would have a need for a little hut of this kind. It would require digging the strimmer out of the shed but I reckon the site could be made into a viable community children’s playhouse, and the funny thing is when I was young my Dad and I built a treehouse not 50 yards from the site, and we were always seeing kids sneaking across our garden to play in it! It shows the desire amongst the neighbourhood kids for a clubhouse, and perhaps it could become a community-financed project. Also maybe I could convince the local Dads to pitch in with the build…

Believe it or not, the derelict cottage is there, nestled inside the bushes pictured. The site is level and suprisingly easy to access desipite the overgrowth, but that’s easily sorted in any case. Anyway, that’s it for now. another project is born! I’ve been working over the last couple of weeks on a different project, but I’ll detail that work in the next post. Until then x



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