Southernhay House

Levitate Architects, Exeter, 2020



Photography by Rhodhri Cooper, Richard Downer, Levitate     Download Original

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  • SHP 1 Ground Floor Plan New Pavilion_Existing Southernhay House    
  • SHP 2 Ground Floor Plan New Pavilion    
  • SHP 3 North Footpath Elevation as Built    
  • SHP 4 South Garden Elevation as Built    
  • SHP 5 North Foot Path Elevation 1_100    
  • SHP 6 Short Section Pavilion as Built 1_100    
  • SHP 7 South Garden Elevation 1_100    
  • SHP 8 Section A-A As Built    
  • SHP 9 Section B-B As Built    
  • SHP 10 Rear Elevation as Built    
  • SHP 11 Annotated Detail Drawing    
  • SHP 12 Annotated Section Drawing    
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  • Before    

The Green Room is a refined addition to Southernhay House, a Grade II-listed building, originally built for a wealthy merchant in 1805

Having refurbished the main hotel, Levitate brought deep knowledge of the site to the new pavilion design. Motifs have been included from the existing building and the veranda to reinforce the heritage of the site rather than diminish it: the roof, structural support elements and the proportions of the massing all help to achieve this overall effect. Framing the garden the veranda and the pavilion sit on a new natural stone plinth, helping to create a peaceful space

The build features modern pre-fabricated elements to speed up the build, reduce wastage and improve build quality. The exterior columns are made from laser cut steel lattice comprising several strips of steel and reference the existing veranda. The roof is precisely detailed, and responds to the emphasised structure veranda, its height and sweep. The curved underside supported by struts constructed off-site, these slot into a pre-cut ply beam and are made from 5 laser cut birch-faced plywood pieces laminated together. Constructed off-site, these slot into a pre-cut ply beam.

The sustainability intent was to create a pavilion that was suitably permanent and long lasting, but with easy maintenance and renovation; a pavilion that could easily be demounted if its function is no longer required. Architectural components can be salvaged and recycled further helping to lower the carbon impact of the built environment.

Each factory cut component of the build was sourced locally and could be assembled with ease by the few builders living on site during the 2020 lockdown which significantly reduced the energy use during construction. The scheme has a very low environmental impact whilst giving the client considerable benefit.

Annual CO2 emissions data was not provided.


  • Begun: Feb 2020
  • Completed: Jul 2020
  • Floor area: 46m2
  • Sector: Hotel
  • Total cost: £270,000
  • Funding: private
  • Procurement: Client Retained Lead Builder/ Traditional
  • Address: 36 Southernhay E, Exeter, EX1 1NX, United Kingdom

Professional Team