Greenwich Garden Studio

MW Architects, London, 2017


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This compact outhouse transforms a cramped rear garden into a courtyard and provides a garden studio for a writer in south London while creating better links between internal and external spaces.

An old derelict wash house which was in danger of slipping down a steep slope existed at the back of an overgrown garden. The new outbuilding ties the existing retaining walls together, shoring up the slope, which allowed the garden to be rearranged as a courtyard.

The studio is built from modest materials including bricks reclaimed from the old washhouse with Crittall-style glazing creating a material continuity between the studio and house. The proportions of the front wall are defined by the imperial brick sizes available and the coursing subtly shifts from running bond to Flemish bond to reflect the coursing of the adjacent garden walls.

The studio is divided into a reading room and a micro shower-room visually connected to the courtyard garden. As space is at a premium the plywood partition separating the two spaces contains a Barbican sink and a series of shelves and a desk. The roof of the new studio has a large fixed roof light to allow the morning sun to fall into the back corner of the studio where the client reads and is covered with sedum referencing the overgrown roof of the old washhouse.

The studio and garden are arranged to create ‘pockets of sun’ at different times of the day while creating better links between internal and external spaces. The courtyard is split into two new terraced levels, one which relates to the studio and catches the morning sun, and the other which relates to the house and catches the evening sun.


  • Begun: Jan 2017
  • Completed: Nov 2017
  • Floor area: 10m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £42,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Apr 2016
  • Procurement: Traditional procurement and JCT Minor Works with contractor's design
  • Address: Greenwich, London, United Kingdom

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