Friday, June 13, 2008

The Shedworker's Bookshelf: Garden Buildings by Alistair Rowan

We've said goodbye to two regular slots this week - Thursday Outhouses and Beach Hut Tuesday - although we'll certainly feature examples of both again. So it's time for something new and every Friday we'll focus on books every shedworker should have in his garden office bookshelf. First out of the traps is Garden Buildings by the eminent architectural historian Professor Alistair Rowan, a slim but enjoyable 64-pager published by Country Life Books in 1968 as part of The RIBA Drawings Series.

There are no specifically shedworking structures or garden offices but the book features 44 garden buildings and designs from a very early 17th century Chelsea summerhouse by Robert Smythson to a Victorian municipal pavilion by Thomas Hill. Rowan also takes us on a whistlestop tour of the history of garden buildings arguing that while they were only really built as an attractive adornment to a garden, in fact they were used by architects as experimental models for larger projects and so were the prototypes for various architectural developments such as Gothic revival and Neo-Palladian. He ends the book by suggesting that the great era of garden building design is now over which, as we now happily know, is not the case, but this is a lovely little volume which is easy to find secondhand on the interweb for around £5. - Used, rare and out-of-print books


  1. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Nice blog you got here..really informative..Keep up the good work!

  2. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Hi Alex,
    Great idea to have a few books. One of my favourites is a book from the 70s(now out print as well I think).

    Handmade Houses - A Guide to the woodbutchers Art.

    Some beautiful free form sheds there, sure fire winners for National Shed week.

    Secrets of shed

  3. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Every shedworker should have a copy of 'Spare Room Start Up - how to start a business from home' on their shelf, don't you think?!

  4. Wicked, I've just ordered it.
    Perhaps I should not say wicked any more after I'm 40, but for now i'm going to be positive etc.

  5. I'm subscribing..btw your photos are marvelous as well..