The Tetra Pak Temple

David Rimmer, Cambridgeshire , 2020



Photography by David Rimmer     Download Original

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  • Temple East Elevation    
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The small tool store was designed and built on an allotment at Molesworth, Cambridgeshire during lockdown in 2020

It is a 3 mile cycle from my home on slightly higher ground from where I can see the weather conditions approaching. The structure is built from recycled materials because there were no deliveries; I had to make do with what I had.

The height and plan were determined by the size of the old door frames which I bolted together at first in the garage. Then I took the frame to the allotment and reassembled it raised on “found” paving slabs, as Walter Segal would do. In late April I got a sheet of OSB3 and lots of roofing battens delivered.

The walls are firstly clad with building paper then the battens. At some point I got the idea of cladding it with Tetra Pak cartons, actually Tetra Brik Aseptic by Tetra Pak, as Kirsten Rausing corrected me. In parallel I researched the Tecu 'System-Shingles' method in Zinc and Copper, and tried to reproduce it.

I devised and evolved my own shingle system using the 450 cartons I collected from colleagues and local coffee shops. I unfolded, washed out and cut open the cartons, then formed them into squares including a generous 30mm folded overlap with the shingles adjoining. I made a mock up to work out the vertical centres for the battens.

The shingles are then secretly stapled to the battens. The outer corners and junctions are formed with folded flashings in the same way. At the top of the walls there is a stainless steel mesh vent held with Velcro to the underside of the OSB3 roof. The roof is lined with the roll of old roofing felt I had in the garage, and rainwater is collected via recycled galvanised guttering into a new IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container).

The fold down door acts as a bench for my morning picnic. Because all the shingles have good overlaps and are secretly fixed I am hoping it will survive several winters.


  • Begun: May 2020
  • Completed: Nov 2020
  • Floor area: 2m2
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £591
  • Funding: private
  • Procurement: n/a
  • Address: Molesworth, Cambridgeshire , PE28, United Kingdom

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