Cliveden Gardens

Service building for the National Trust, Berkshire, England. 2017

This is one of two small buildings for the National Trust at Cliveden Gardens, won through invited competition. One is a small ticketing kiosk at the main entrance driveway and this is a larger building which is part of a general improvement in the Trust’s facilities to enable increased visitor numbers. It provides additional public toilets and some cleaning and catering storage. The building may be approached from two directions and therefore does not have an explicit front or back, and it also has a functional relationship with the Doll’s House, which is one of the follies on the estate and a place where visitors can picnic.

Model of proposal

The building has a familiar form, which is not alien to the landscape or to the other buildings in the landscape. We were not interested in designing a building which was very obviously different from the existing estate buildings but one that sought a robust kind of continuity with them.

The final form is a hipped-roofed building, with a Serlian arch to each end of a central passageway giving access from both sides. Wall-head dormers light the male and female toilets respectively. The central passageway has benches to each side for waiting and niches to the exterior contain drinking fountains with lower sections for dogs to drink from.

The materials will be red clay tiles and bricks which are found elsewhere on the estate, notably at the Old Dairy nearby, but the use of the tiles, which cover the roof and walls of the building without interruption differs from the traditional way that these materials are employed.

Facade material detail