The Tomato House

David Sheppard Architects, Ermington, 2020



Photography by David Sheppard     Download Original

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Re-claimed T+G hardwood panels remained from the construction of Cob Corner

Breaking up four panels into forty pieces of timber, stacked in a staggered composition offered a 2.20 m high structure with space enough for five earthenware pots, a doorway and to stand inside with a watering can made the Tomato House.

Splitting the panels required removal of three rusted threaded bolted bars through each panel. Sawing through the tongues at each end of the panels, hacksawing through the two end bolts, sawing the tongues to the middle bolt, rotating this board until the central rusty bar broke released one board to use. This was repeated until all forty were free to use.

However, some threaded bar, now rusted pins, got stuck in the existing pre-drilled holes. Soaking them in the small leat, adjacent to the house, the wood expanded releasing the steel pins to re-use in the stacking of the timber; pin jointed at the staggered jointed corners formed a Pentagon enclosure mounted on four ground boards within the reed bed.

Glass from an old green house was used to envelope the volume. Glass of various sizes necessitated overlapping pieces in different geometric compositions to each facade including the roof. Fixing the glass using a pair of “snips” to cut copper samples into strips and drilling holes at one end to receive a copper nail, bending the strip of copper into an “S” covered the nail head and supported the leading edges of the glass that were randomly fixed into place depending on the size and shape of the glass. It cost nothing to build only my labour during the first lockdown. It was a positive pleasure in amongst much adversity.


  • Begun: Apr 2020
  • Completed: May 2020
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Funding: n/a
  • Tender date: Mar 2020
  • Procurement: none
  • Address: Higher Keaton, Ermington, PL21, United Kingdom

Professional Team