Mathews Architecture

NC Arboretum Heritage Garden

Four structures were required for this established garden, to enhance the illusion of being a former cabin site, and to provide outdoor teaching areas for Arboretum programs on the native plants in the surrounding gardens.

The Shed provides covered open-sided space for tutoring small groups, or for instructing students in the adjacent area.

The Arbor provides seating beneath an open canopy for vines.

Between these, stone paving represented the cabin outline. With new low stone walls and a stone chimney this became an open demonstration area.

Along the open edge of the garden is a long low wooden picket fence.

Working within the established framework of this garden we had to provide four new small structures which would enhance the existing traditional character while avoiding pastiche. So it was decided to base two of the elements on traditional models and allow the other two a freer stylistic rein.

The stone chimney was to be a close copy of an old rural cabin precedent, and was even to be constructed from the donated stones of two such chimneys. Care was needed to avoid the necessary structural masonry core of the chimney with its functional fireplace and flue from over-enlarging the chimney’s proportions.

It was also thought appropriate that the fence should provide a traditional-looking boundary to the garden.

So it was left for the Shed and Arbor to infuse more visual interest. Rectangular plans with double-pitched roof shapes were chosen as the traditional form for both, but the heavy timber structures were treated in a less strictly historical way.

The Shed with its two-angled roof pitches, cantilevered seats, and open cantilevered corners commands the open area at the center of the garden, while its wood structure, cedar shingles, metal roof and rainwater barrels are echoes of its rural-cabin ancestry.

The Arbor repeats the cantilevered seating, but, in this instance, beneath an elaborated heavy timber structure which spans and frames one of the axial approaches to the garden.
The Shed, with its projecting pergola and rainwater collection system.
Sitting under the Arbor, looking back toward the Shed.
Another view of the Shed, from beside the Arbor.
Looking through the Shed toward the Arbor.
Another view along the main axis, showing the stone paving and chimney representing the relics of an old cabin.
The chimney and stonework representing a cabin of old.
Looking over the Border Fence to the Shed in the distance.
The plan of the Heritage Garden, showing the locations of each of the architectural elements.