Page 1



Dunham Massey has a strong connection to nature and to wildlife. Set under the canopy of an old yew tree, our pavilion provides a space for you to stop, observe and enjoy the rich gardens through gently directed outward views. The open, lightweight arches draw one’s eye upwards, towards the intricate canopy that shelters and encloses the site. We take advantage of this natural enclosure, creating a focal point that lets visitors linger under the canopy a little longer.

We believe that our pavilion should have a low impact on both the natural site, and the environment. We took inspiration from the rings of a tree, which get smaller nearer to the core. Each pair of arches is a smaller iteration of the one before, allowing us to take all three arch sets from the same sheets of plywood. The resulting structure sits gently on the site without drawing attention away from the surrounding gardens, but also minimises impact on the greater natural ecosystem.

Concept We designed the pavilion to accommodate the different age groups attracted to Dunham Massey; the three arches and chairs decrease in size, creating a connected space that fits every member of the family. We designed our pavilion to be light and open, to counter the dark space under the yew tree. The design can be cut out of sheets of plywood and easily assembled using a combination of bolts and screw fixtures. We have tessellated all of the pieces on sheets of plywood; arranged to minimise the use of wood, the design is both economical and ecological. The slats are packed densely angled upwards near the base, making it difficult for younger visitors to find a grip or a foothold, and preventing potential climbing related injuries.

A large part of Dunham Massey’s visitor experience is the wildlife that inhabits the gardens; the pavilion, which is designed not to harm or discourage animals could act as a platform to observe seasonal animal life from afar.


The arches are held in place by a small base and fixed to the ground with small grounding coils. The slats, fan outwards across the arch frames and hold them rigid, keeping the entire pavilion stiff and stable. The simple design is built of only a few lightweight components, and is therefore easy to prefabricate, transport, assemble and manage. Disassembly is equally simple, requiring only a screwdriver and lug wrench.

through the seasons






The wooden components are cut out from 2440mm by 1220mm plywood sheets using a computerised CNC router.

2 The bases will be fixed to the inner frame using screws

3 We will pre-drill holes in the slat pieces.

4 The pre-drilled slats will be screwed into the frame on both sides.

The second two frame pieces are bolted over the first piece,, hiding the screw joints and increasing the structural integrity of the frame.


7 The seats can be simultaneously assembled, using large cutter screws.

8 The chairs reflect the form of the arches, and will form a five side self supporting box frame.



The underside of the chairs can be strengthened with hidden wooden beams to support and strengthen the top of the chairs.

11 We have designed several potential simple mechanisms that lock the chairs to the frame (seen to the right). This allows the chairs to be fixed and secured. However, if decided, the chairs can be unlocked and repositioned.

12 Detail showing how the three layers of plywood arch-frame are bolted together.





We believe that a pavilion needs to become a part of the landscape; it should compliment, not contradicts its surroundings; it should enhance, not ignore, the gardens. Our pavilion rests lightly on site and allows the full diversity of Dunham Massey’s visitors to stop, observe and enjoy the rich space

Scan me

'Under the Canopy'

Under the Canopy  

We invite you to journey to 'Under the Canopy', a pavilion that connects you to the rich nature and wildlife at Dunham Massey's gardens, res...

Under the Canopy  

We invite you to journey to 'Under the Canopy', a pavilion that connects you to the rich nature and wildlife at Dunham Massey's gardens, res...