Woodbine Courtyard

Jonathan Mole Architects, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2019



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A small building providing a quiet space for working and reading

Woodbine Courtyard Room is located at an acute junction of two back lanes. The context is one of ad-hoc boundary walls, shutters and rear off-shoots. The existing home is a former coach house and sits back-to-back with the Victorian terrace of Woodbine Road in Gosforth. Its main outdoor space is the left-over triangle between the lanes.

The client’s brief was to partly infill this courtyard with a small building providing a quiet space for working and reading. The form of the new building capitalises upon the unusual shape of the site by placing a vaulted pitched roof over a triangular plan, creating a diminishing structure that peeks over the re-constructed boundary wall. The roof structure is left open to view internally. Rafters are allowed to pass un-trimmed below the openable skylight, accentuating subtle changes in the pattern of daylight and shadow throughout the day.

The roof sits on a steel frame set within the walls, neatly housing the joist ends. The expressed steel eaves / ridge beams and brick parapets allow the roof and courtyard walls to read as independent of the boundaries - as insertions placed into the courtyard.

Towards the courtyard one corner is chamfered, creating a more useable internal space and sculpting the external form to avoid a single flat façade feeling overbearing. A glazed gable opens the relationship between the new building, courtyard and main house and allows the new roof structure to be viewed from outside.

Internally a micro-screed floor finish and skirting-free walls allow the eye to be drawn upwards undistracted. Facing the lanes, the material palette relates to the surroundings of red brick, natural slate and cobbles. Contrasting with the handleable scale of these materials are the new 2.8m high powder coated steel gates, designed to give an overt contemporary touch to the outward appearance.

The use of standard materials ensured that the build remained within the comfort zone of local tradesmen, though a strong site presence was necessary to ensure junction details and geometry were seen through as envisaged.

Photography by Jill Tate


  • Begun: Aug 2019
  • Completed: Dec 2019
  • Floor area: 14m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £71,750
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Feb 2019
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3, United Kingdom