Enigmatic cedar-clad garden office doubles as yoga studio & playroom


© Neil Dusheiko Architects

Working from home has some great benefits: no long commute, and the flexibility with one’s own time. Of course, one of the downsides may include the need to have a dedicated office space somewhere in or around the house, when distractions at the kitchen table or the spare bedroom seem too much.

Offices could have more than one function too: London-based Neil Dusheiko Architects created this garden office that doubles as a yoga studio and playroom for a family living in the borough of Camden. It’s an additional space that is set apart from the home, and yet is not too far. During the day, one of the clients, a psychiatrist, meets with patients here, and during the evening, the family’s children can play, and yoga can be practiced.

© Neil Dusheiko Architects

Placed at the end of the garden and sunken slightly into the earth to reduce its bulk, the structure is clad with heat-blackened cedar — a technique known as shou sugi ban in Japanese, and which protects the wood from rot, fire and pests. The architects worked with the local conservation council to gain permission to build this secondary structure, and made efforts to make it as unobtrusive as possible. Dusheiko says on Dezeen:

We wanted the pavilion to sit quietly in the background and retain a bit of mystery. It is this play of a ‘dark box’ in the garden, and the contrast of its square geometry in its natural setting that makes it work well. We called this project the Shadow Shed because of its play of light and shadow. We have imagined it as a warm comforting space inside with a darker outer skin outside.

© Neil Dusheiko Architects © Neil Dusheiko Architects

The interior is clad throughout with recycled birch plywood, which is carried over into the built in furniture to give a seamless look. Two main windows let light pour in from the garden side, with one wrapping up to form a skylight over the desk.

© Neil Dusheiko Architects © Neil Dusheiko Architects © Neil Dusheiko Architects © Neil Dusheiko Architects © Neil Dusheiko Architects

The interior is also lit with LEDs in the form of recessed strips and tubes, as well as colour-changing, pinpoint bulbs hidden in the ceiling, which give the impression of twinkling stars.

© Neil Dusheiko Architects

At night, the structure seems to disappear, except for the glow emanating from its windows.

© Neil Dusheiko Architects

We are seeing so many beautiful backyard office structures nowadays — some that are prefab and could be placed anywhere — and others, like this one, that are designed to blend into its surrounding tree-filled context while providing a multifunctional haven for work, play and relaxation. To see more, visit Neil Dusheiko Architects.