Garden Studio and Banya

Cooke Fawcett Architects, London, 2020



All photographs Peter Landers, Philip Durrant     Download Original

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This unusual and inventive project houses the traditional elements of a Russian ‘Banya’, including sauna, bucket shower, and plunge pool, as well as a garden studio.

The scheme was designed by architect Cooke Fawcett in collaboration with interior designer Black and Milk. Set among mature trees, whose locations inform its angled geometry, the building is broken up into what appears as two volumes externally. This subtle fragmentation articulates the key components of the scheme: a flexible garden room, storage space and sauna.

A special system of structural mini-piles was developed to minimise the project’s impact on surrounding tree roots. Specific offsets to tree trunks were carefully planned to ensure they have clear space to grow.

The building is located at the north end of the garden of Kebony House, itself a recent timber-clad addition to a 19th-century villa, and its design continues the kebony wood cladding and is sensitivity integrated into its mature garden setting.

Responding to the tree locations and the sloping site has generated a highly specific pair of structures that feel fresh and unexpected, and very much ‘of the site’.

The roof profile follows the sloping landscape, and the resultant forms, together with the choice of timber as both an exterior and interior material, reinforce the idea of an escape to nature. Creating a building that feels embedded in the woodland was central to Cooke Fawcett’s proposals.

The garden room has large, glazed sliding doors that draw light from the garden into the interior. A large bespoke wrap-over rooflight/window to the rear provides a dramatic framed view of the extensive woodlands behind.

The scheme sits within Hampstead Conservation Area, so planning consent was a notable achievement, involving detailed coordination with ecology and tree experts. The new structures have created approximately 40m² of new space.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Sep 2019
  • Completed: Jul 2020
  • Floor area: 40m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £245,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2019
  • Procurement: JCT home owners contract
  • Address: Hampstead, London, United Kingdom

Professional Team