It is a shed of two halves, one half is a polycarbonate shed inspired by 1980s cinema that come to life at night pulsing with light, the other half is a California mid century asymmetric office/studio with huge picture window and workspace.
First things first the name, Tangerine Dream. It used to be a rather dark and gloomy corner of the garden and I really wanted to add year round colour, something to draw the eye come rain or shine. It was always going to be vibrant and once i’d seen it I fell in love with the bright orange wood stain, so naturally the nickname my sister coined stuck.
Spurred on by having designed and built a climbing frame/den for my girls in the first lockdown I needed a new challenge for myself, a focus and purpose whilst the world and my mind was in chaos. I was setting myself the challenge to take my DIY skills to the next level by building a workspace in an unloved back corner of our garden.
I’ve always been a big fan of garden builds and structures as they allow a freedom of expression largely free of the constraints of planning, allowing people to invest in their very own slice of (micro) architecture.
The entire design and build was a cathartic process for me and a wonderful means of escapism. The design of the studio draws on my passion for design and architecture, namely Californian mid century modern and is influenced to some degree by the architecture of Joseph Eichler with its asymmetric angled roof line, timber construction and wall of glass. The picture window wall of the studio is subtly angled 20º to face into the garden (now softened by the introduction of a wild flower bed). Internally the oversize picture window is intersected by the full width asymmetric desk which favour the garden view and is truly a relaxing spot to spend time.
The external cladding is called ‘Open Rain Screen Cladding’, the beauty of this is that it has allowed me to add superficial height and a dynamic architectural shape to the design, however it did cause me quite a few scratchy head moments working out exactly how to get it right and keep the structure water tight. Fortunately, the shed community are a very friendly bunch and I enjoyed sharing ideas and methods of construction online through my Instagram and on my YouTube channel ‘Bens Backyard Builds’ as I documented the process. Although I have to say I am yet to complete this series as I’ve had very little time as work started up again.
The second part of the design is the shed (the rear third of the building). It was inspired somewhat by the movie E.T. In which the shed glows as E.T. appears from it. After exploring a number of material choices I settled on polycarbonate sheet, (a homage to the greenhouse that stood before) its structural integrity, watertight qualities and translucent nature allowed for a dramatic, complimentary and unique aesthetic to that of the timber cladding as well as providing the shed itself with lots of natural light during the day and the option to grow plants from seed inside as well.
At night though is when the shed really comes alive, a motion sensor detects anyone approaching, at which point it instantly illuminates like a light box softly silhouetting anything inside and revealing its timber skeleton beneath. The lighting can be set to pure white or pulse in and out of a myriad of colours in a nod to 1980’s sci-fi films.
The interior of the studio itself is simplistic yet brimming with all the latest conveniences such as under floor heating, Wi-Fi, smart lighting and an electric roof light. These extravagances were affordable given that it was a self build project. There are only two material finishes being the white oiled plywood walls and ceiling and a turquoise rubber floor to compliment the orange cladding, this reduction in finishes adds to the serenity of the space.
All in all it has proved to be an inspiring, uplifting and valuable addition to our garden and family life, the shed is extremely practical and the studio has given us a place of calm to focus on our work as well as having garden glamping nights with the kids on the sofa bed.