In the rolling green hills of rural Sussex, London-based architecture firm Carmody Groarke has designed two pavilions — the first an artist’s studio, and the second a guest space with a subterranean entrance and water views.
Kevin Carmody and Andy Groarke were tasked with a double project on a rural property — a studio, to be built within the crumbling walls of an 18th-century farmhouse, and a guest suite, to stand overlooking the lake on the property. The pair took to the project with typically inventive energy, creating not only the ‘Two Pavilions’, but a secret subterranean steel-lined passage that links one of the buildings to the main house.
The 40-meter-long tunnel is the only entrance to the waterfront guest suite unless you plan to arrive by boat and moor at the small jetty that stands at its front. The banks of the lake seem to swallow the pavilion, the dewy grass contrasting strongly against the board-marked concrete of the building. The architects explain that “The mass of the new room is partially submerged and surrounded by a densely planted new landscape that covers the ides and the roof, so the building is all-but obscured from the main house.” The interior is oak lined, lending a sense of natural comfort and warmth to the space. Inside the bedroom is a freestanding bath, from which one can inspect the lake, the patterns of weather and the movement of trees in the landscape beyond. In addition to the bedroom is also a bathroom and a small kitchen.
The 18th-century farmhouse has seen additions of weathered steel and poured concrete floors, rendering the once dilapidated building anew. “Rather than demolish its last remains, it was felt that the unselfconscious character and handmade quality to the existing brickwork structure would be the correct starting point to create a new space for making art,” explained the studio. Working within the parameters of the original structure, the building was reconstructed with an emphasis on the divide between old and new material. Large traditionally shaped windows offer views of the landscape, and a four-meter-wide window-cum-wall that faces north offers vast amounts of natural light.