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Tiny retreat raises its facade to greet the outdoors

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Though it resembles a simple shed at first glance, there’s more than meets the eye to BYRÓ architekti’s Garden Pavilion. Situated on a lush garden plot in Prague, the Czech Republic, the tiny retreat features a space-saving interior layout and its front-facing facade can be raised to open up the cabin to the outside.

The Garden Pavilion was built on the foundations of an old wooden cottage, alongside greenhouses and other small cottages that mostly serve as storage for keen gardeners. BYRÓ architekti attempted to ensure the new retreat blends in with the character of these surroundings, while also allowing its owners to enjoy nature.

“We thought about how to connect the building as closely as possible to the surrounding garden, and we ultimately came up with the idea of a folding panel that allows one side of the house to completely open,” explains BYRÓ architekti. “This way, the interior seamlessly transitions to the outdoors, with the garden penetrating the building, creating a kind of paraphrase of a garden loggia, which was our fundamental architectural inspiration. When open, the polycarbonate wall also functions as an outdoor roof, expanding the covered space where one can stay during rainy weather. The panel folding mechanism consists of steel cables, pulleys, and counterweights, making it easy for one person to open the entire facade.”

The Garden Pavilion's polycarbonate facade turns into a small roof when raised, sheltering the space below from rain
The Garden Pavilion’s polycarbonate facade turns into a small roof when raised, sheltering the space below from rain

Alex Shoots Buildings

The Garden Pavilion has a compact footprint measuring 3 x 5 m (9.10 x 16 ft) and is finished in a distinctive charred wood that was produced using the traditional Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique of burning wood to protect it from bugs and preserve it.

Its interior measures 20 sq m (215 sq ft), spread over two floors, and is arranged like a tiny house. The ground floor is taken up by an open living area dominated by shelving for books, CDs and the like, plus there’s a dining table and seating. The upper level is reached by a fixed wooden ladder and, judging from the photos, there’s not a ton of headspace, but it looks like there’s a bit more than a typical tiny house. The bedroom also has shelving, plus a double bed and a skylight.

There’s no bathroom inside, reflecting that the retreat is meant more for hanging out in the day and the occasional overnight stay rather than full-time living.

The Garden Pavilion features a utilitarian decor and was primarily constructed from wood
The Garden Pavilion features a utilitarian decor and was primarily constructed from wood

Alex Shoots Buildings

The Garden Pavilion also lacks plumbed-in water and its only power comes from a small roof-based solar panel, which provides lighting. It cost €38,000 (roughly US$40,000) to realize.

Source: BYRÓ architekti [in Czech]


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