Edward McCann Architects Limited, Dorset, 2020



Photography by Fonard Milann     Download Original

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A pergola to provide cover to an outdoor seating area

The structure was conceived as a sculptural element with a condensed geometry that acts as a countervail to the organic and gentle forms of the classically English country garden in which it is situated. Influences were found in early conceptions of the garden and the use of geometry as a demonstration of control within an otherwise chaotic/natural wider landscape; The idea of the folly as an object to punctuate the landscape and provide a muse for contemplation; And ideas in the abstraction of the grid, in this case triangulated, as a way of negotiating space and setting parameters.

The two principle elements of the design are the canopy and the base. The canopy is comprised of seven large triangular pieces, each with their own internal subdivision, which fit together in a single horizontal plane. The base is comprised of posts arranged in four inverted tetrahedrons which project down off four of the canopy pieces to foot plates – the remaining three canopy pieces are suspended between.

The base adjusts its height to negotiate the changing ground level while maintaining a level canopy. The structure is arranged in the site to give the impression of an almost arbitrary opening for the seating area, although this was precisely calculated to ensure sufficient clearance for the table and occupants. Details were worked out with the fabricator to consider easy site assembly and adjustment to accommodate topographic discrepancies.

The structure has three components – feet, posts and canopy pieces which could be delivered to site “flat packed” and assembled. The colour references the sculptures of Anthony Caro which often used the same red. This red distinguishes the object within the natural setting but has an earthiness which connects it. Eventually plants will grow over the canopy.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was not provided.


  • Begun: May 2020
  • Completed: Jul 2020
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £15,000
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: Apr 2020
  • Procurement: Simple contract
  • Address: Ibberton, Dorset, DT11, United Kingdom

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