Friday, July 11, 2014
A world of wood
Perhaps it should be one of the rules for the architectural traveller. As well as ‘Look up’, ‘Walk along alleys’, and ‘Go around the back’, the axiom ‘Look over walls’ has a place in the inquisitive traveller’s rule book. I am often to be seen looking over walls, in search of unusual outbuildings, garden structures, and other buildings likewise hidden from immediate view. Here’s an example from Shipston-on-Stour, the upper half of which, at least, is freely visible above a brick garden wall. It seems to be an octagonal wooden gazebo or summer house, with Gothic style pointed windows and walls made up of short logs arranged in geometric patterns. There’s a lovely fish-scale roof, too.
I don’t know how old this building is. Self-consciously rustic garden buildings go back at least to the 18th century, and they owe their form to various sources, from writers’ ideas about the earliest building of all (the ‘primal hut’) to hermitages, or people’s ideas about what a hermitage should be like. In a setting of trees, a brick wall and passing pedestrians, inquisitive or not, this wooden wonder enlivens the streetscape – and brightened up a dull day as I passed.