The Pottering Shed

Studio MUTT, Poole, 2021



All photographs Jim Stephenson     Download Original

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The Pottering Shed is designed to feel like an upside-down boat. A timber structure sits on a concrete shelf, projecting from the landscape over the beach below.

The building looks out across Poole Harbour, providing a space for the client that recreates the other-worldly peacefulness of being out at sea.

A shell-clad gable end faces the sea. At the rear of the building, the pitched geometry of the roof manipulates and reduces in size to become diminutive in height, sitting against a new dry-stone retaining wall in the planted landscape.

The client wanted a space to write, draw, print, collage – what they refer to as their ‘analogue activities’ – and which provides a visual and climatic connection to the harbour. These analogue activities, along with challenging site constraints, have also driven the construction and materiality of the design, the collage-like appearance of the building being a result of an ambition to celebrate the buildings construction.

First a concrete base was cast into the sloping cliff face, respecting the SSSI environment of Poole Harbour. Next, CNC-cut plywood cassettes were manufactured off site to 1mm tolerance, with etched part codes proudly displayed. Assembly on-site was then quick and simple, with cassette panels bolted together in a matter of days.

The structure is covered in sculptors’ scrim, vertical battens and a grid of scallop shell ornament, locally sourced and consumed. Finally the shed was waterproofed with a brushable liquid rubber coating. Recycled timber shuttering planks become the flooring, while the front door, complete with portal window, is reclaimed from a nearby shipyard.

Steel windows with a central-pivot horizontal opening are used to generate fully flexible and variable ventilation, and are painted in a light blue to reference the vibrant roof tiles of the adjacent historic boatshed and Grade II-listed Boathouse.


  • Begun: May 2021
  • Completed: Nov 2021
  • Floor area: 30m2
  • Sectors: Residential, Office, Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £256,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2020
  • Procurement: Construction management
  • CO2 Emissions: 17kg/m2/year
  • Address: Lake Drive, Hamworthy, Poole, BH15 4LR, United Kingdom

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