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Pod Gallery

Pod Gallery

Existing Building Highly Commended 2015

Location: South Gloucestershire
Architect: Stonewood Design
Structural Engineer: Structurelle
Main Contactor/Builder: Stonewood Builders
Joinery Company: Oakwrights
Wood Supplier: Dinesen (Flooring)
Wood Species: Oak, Birch Plywood, Marine Plywood, Softwood

The client wished to restore the Grade II listed Home Farm Barn to its full glory and remove past interventions within which served to domesticate the bold historic structure. They also wanted to sensitively and creatively manage the interface between the House and the Barn as the two did not relate to each other successfully. The client required a warm, dry, light and airtight space within the Barn to house a personal collection of watercolour paintings.

Pod Gallery is a ‘reversible’ lightweight timber structure that sits lightly within the barn. The structure only touches the Barn where it sits on the existing raised barn floor directly above the cellar below. It cantilevers over the floor giving the impression of floating or of a vessel launching forth. The walls and roof of the Pod Gallery sit away from the Barn. The roof undulates around the existing barn trusses, creating a cast of the negative space.

The existing domestic doors and windows were removed and all arrow-slit window openings have been reinstated. Sealed, glazed openings that alight with the openings to the barn are introduced into the Pod Gallery which align with the openings to the Barn. Framed views of the Barn therefore sit alongside the paintings – the two being viewed together from the warmth of the Barn.

Full height glazing is provided to the gable of the Pod Gallery which faces the Barn. In this way, the full splendor of the Barn is revealed from the comfort of the Pod Gallery. The soft warm qualities of the timber Pod Gallery contrast with the hard cold structure of the stone Barn.

“The present life of man upon earth… is like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the house wherein you sit at supper in winter… while the fire blazes… but the wintry storms… are raging abroad. The sparrow…whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest… So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.” – Bede’s Ecclesiastical History (Inspiration for the project).

Further Sustainability Information: The Pod Gallery can be dismantled, materials recycled, and minimal trace left on its site. As it constructed entirely in timber the structure has a very low embodied energy. It also uses the existing base plinth as a foundation. The building has very minimal power usage through LED lighting and excellent levels of daylight. Heating is provided through a biomass boiler. The Gallery is extremely well insulated.