As part of Glasgow’s celebrations of its year as UK City of Architecture and Design 1999, The Ideal Hut Show was organised by Neil Baxter, for which a number of local and international architects, artists and designers were invited to rethink the standard garden shed. The huts were to create a streetscape for two weeks in the Botanic Gardens. At the end of the exhibition, they were auctioned with all proceeds going to charities to help the homeless.
The design brief hinted at addressing minimal housing. We questioned the nature of the garden shed as a modest and affordable second property, suggesting images of leisure and holiday. We then researched the design of caravans which gain space and comfort through the ingenuity of their components: sunroof, sliding furniture, and awning. We also looked into popular icons of minimal architecture related to leisure – beach cabins and the associated parasol – bringing a serious yet subtle ironic commentary.
What if the shed became an element in a homeless people scheme as a minimal entitlement? Closed at night, the design presents a secure metal façade behind a folded parasol. During daytime, it is so open as to raise questions of agoraphobia. The house also extends – the door becomes a terrace upon which one can relax in the shade.
Our shed and the one designed by Paul Smith (fashion) were subsequently shipped and exhibited in Canada.