Architect Nicholas Hunt creates a tiny retreat in his Brooklyn garden


American architect Nicholas Hunt has built a micro studio in the backyard of his Brooklyn home, intended to provide "solitude within the immense landscape of New York City".

Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture

Called the Brooklyn Garden Studio, the outbuilding encompasses 55 square feet (five square metres).

It sits in the slender yard behind the architect's ground-level apartment in a townhouse in Boerum Hill, an upscale neighbourhood in Brooklyn.

Hunt received approval from his landlord to erect the dwelling.

Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture

Hunt's motive for the project was to provide an escape from the city, through both the act of building the dwelling and inhabiting it.

"The garden studio provides a seemingly detached space of solitude within the immense landscape of New York City," said Hunt, who founded the local firm Hunt Architecture with his brother, Andrew, in 2013.

"It is a perfect spot for enjoying a book or an afternoon nap."

Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture

Rectangular in plan, the studio's "simple and clean" form was driven by a desire to keep the ceiling heights low. The ceiling rises 5.6 feet at it lowest point and 7.6 feet at its highest (1.7 to 2.3 metres).

The angled roof, which is partly covered in grass, enables rainwater to slide off the dwelling.

Built atop a cinder block foundation, the dwelling consists of a standard wooden frame, wooden walls and salvaged cedar siding.

Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture

The interior, which is painted all white, features walls sheathed in old fence pickets.

Light enters the space through a skylight made from Plexiglas – a transparent acrylic – and several low-lying windows.

Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture

Openings are strategically placed to maintain privacy while providing views of the garden and sky.

"A double-layer of horizontal slats allow low views out from a seated position, yet restrict the prying eyes of neighbours from floors above," the architect said.


The building emits a soft glow in the evening, in turn illuminating the backyard and surrounding trees.

Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture

Other examples of small retreats include a cedar-clad writer's studio in Brooklyn by Architensions and a writing studio on a hill in Los Angeles by Aaron Neubert Architects.

Photography is by Brian Ferry.

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Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture
Exploded axonometric diagram – click for larger image
Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture
Floor plan – click for larger image
Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture
Section – click for larger image
  • apocalipstick

    A friend and I built our own home – together we’ve built garden sheds, planters, a fun wall to plant herbs in, a small pavilion, lots of furniture for outdoors and indoors etc., all out of reclaimed wood, for friends and family.

    But c’mon those are not projects for publication. They are just fun projects that us designers like to do in our free time, because we don’t want to go to Ikea if we can build it ourselves.

    This studio is beautiful as are the photographs. But it’s just a fun thing in someone’s backyard at the end of the day isn’t it. I’d like to see a circulation study of the space (jk).

    • orangeeli

      Thanks for letting us know what is suitable for publication.

      • tessellate

        It’s a lovely project in your backyard. It’s lovely, but a bit “yawn” and pretentious of them too.

  • baddogrex

    I like it, but to paint it white and fit it with carpet, chair and flower isn’t exactly “minimalism”. It’s “unfinishism”, ha ha. I loved other sheds from the link at the bottom of the article, some of them blow my mind. This one looks even worse in comparison to them.

  • WUT

    Truly beautiful.

  • DesignBahamas

    Does anybody know what software is used for the Illustrations?

  • Gdavies

    I have something similar on my allotment.

  • NYer

    I’d hide in here all day too. Lovely little project.

  • Jess Thinkin

    This is a perfect example for first year architectural students to learn that it’s actually possible to design and build a space, for human occupancy, that’s TOO SMALL!