Performing Shed

Ex Architectures, London, 2020



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This project enjoys the functioning outcome; but is most interested in the process of its creation

The shed in my grandmother’s garden had fallen into disrepair. As the custodian of this space I was going to have to replace it. Fortunately, this need coincided with the final year of my architecture masters. As such I decided that it would be useful to graduate with the building of this shed.

With an interest in performative architectural methodologies, I was particularly focusing on design and construction processes. I decided to avoid the context, exploring forms and construction techniques away from site. With screws, a screwdriver, and ten 2x4s, attached to my bike, I would travel into the woods, at which point I would perform 1:1 improvisational building sessions. Resolving elements of the design, influenced by my constraints (working alone, constructing and deconstructing repetitively, with limited tools and materials). I moved to site without an absolute design drawn, instead I had embodied knowledge, a research document, resolved architectural fragments, and a rough budget. The experimental timber framing techniques and elements gave me flexibility to respond to the site, in the moment of construction. Due to the repetitive nature of my design development I could easily experiment with designs at scale in situ.

The outcome shows signs of the techniques used, along with elements scavenged from the previous shed. Ultimately however, this shed explores architectural methodologies with an intent closely linked to performance art. Creating architecture which responds directly to the body, employing improvisational techniques, engaging with ideas of architectural permanence and giving greater significance to the process of creation over object reverence.

All photos Alexander de Caires, Philip Curtin


  • Begun: Jun 2019
  • Completed: Jun 2020
  • Floor area: 4m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £755
  • Procurement: Self-build
  • Address: London, London, N22, United Kingdom

Professional Team


  • General building materials: B&Q
  • General building materials: Screwfix