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Quenington, 1998-2007

This arts library and small theatre is built adjacent to the Old Rectory, at Quenington.


Quenington Old Rectory is the venue for public arts events, notably the biennial Quenington Open Air Sculpture Show and, on the alternate years, the Open Air Theatre. The owners and patrons of this arts activity, David and Lucy Abel Smith, commissioned an arts library and small theatre in the grounds in 1997.


The round library pavilion is on a lawn between the Rectory and a millrace that runs past it through the garden, at the opposite end to an ancient smaller, square pavilion, topped by a stone ball. The library features a pair of curved, oak, studded barn doors that may be opened out to 180 degrees by a remote controller, allowing the library to become a stage for intimate outdoor theatrical performances, and a summer pavilion.


A stone ball is perched over a transparent cone at the tip of the roof. The ball is visible from inside the pavilion as apparently floating in mid air over the cenral hole in the roof. At the rear, twin oak barrels each side of a stone chimney stack catch the roof rainfall for use in maintaining the gardens, which are open annually to the public.


The interior includes the four bookcases, a stove, a sofa with its back to the same curve as the big doors when shut. In the summer, the sofa, on braked wheels, is swung round to face outwards to the landscape when the doors are open. A felt carpet by Donna Wilson indicates in cut out birds' feet; a revolving and height adjusting round table on a screw stem has replaced the green snake table in the illustrations.


Client: David and Lucy Abel Smith.

Architects: Michael Gold Architects.


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