A tranquil contemporary garden in Wells, Somerset

A tranquil contemporary garden in Wells, Somerset

Poustinia

Project details

Sector Artworks, Public buildings

Location Wells, Somerset

The client’s brief was for: “a tranquil, calm and contemporary garden – a place to immerse oneself in the surroundings, to take stock and to open oneself up to a better self understanding”.

Named from an old Russian word for a ‘small room’ to be alone with God, the Poustinia is, in essence, a circular seat, 12m in diameter and 2.8m high of a remarkable visual lightness.

Booth King was proud and honoured to be involved in such a prestigious development. The Poustina’s structural and architectural excellence; innovation in the material selected; sensitivity to history and archaeology and the facility it provides for the community and visitors to Wells was a fantastic challenge for the team. The architect’s original design proposal was for a precast concrete circular seat with a patterned glass fin. In conversation how to cast the massive units and incorporate a shadow gap, and the concealment of connections and fixing between precast units and glass.

Booth King made what was a breakthrough contribution – instead of using cast stone, using the structural properties of ultra high performance concrete, Ductal, we were able to develop a cantilevered form of minimal thickness and apparent lightness and simplicity which resolved all the architectural difficulties. The shadow gap thus achieved gives the appearance from some angles that the brilliant white edifice hovers above the ground.

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