WaterAid Garden

images © Alister Thorpe Photography Ltd

WaterAid Garden

A new pavilion and garden designed in collaboration with Tom Massey for the charity WaterAid at Chelsea Flower Show which provided a water conscious backdrop for urgent water conservation.

WaterAid & Project Giving Back
264 m2
Project dates
April 2023 – December 2023 (Design & Pre-Production) January 2024 - April 2024 (Procurement & Prefabrication) May 2024 (Build & Exhibit)
Services provided
Collaborative Garden Concept Design; Pavilion Full Service (RIBA St1-6)
Design team
  • Tom Massey Studio (Horticulturalist/Landscape Designer)

  • Sebastian Cox (Timber Furniture & Deck Designer)

  • Cake Industries (Engineering & Fabrication)

  • Mule Studio (3d Fabrication Pre-Production)

  • Landscape Associates (Landscape Contractor)

  • Surrey Iron Craft (Metal Deck Fabrication)


RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal 2024

Press links
  • https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Gardens/2024/wateraid

  • https://www.wateraid.org/uk/chelsea-flower-show

Project type
Landscape & Public RealmObject & Sculpture
Use type
Health & WellbeingCommunity & Education

Studio Weave were commissioned in 2023 to collaborate with Tom Massey on the garden and pavilion design to demonstrate that water can be managed sustainably though creative and inventive design solutions. The pavilion harvests rainwater, also providing shade. Swales and landscape features slow and store water in the landscape, showcasing sustainable water management. Planting is adapted to seasonal wet and dry conditions. Hard surfaces including the open decking and the roof of the pavilion are permeable allowing water to pass through.

The pavilion is fabricated from recyclable weathering-steel, widely available allowing replication. It is engineered to be very lean, using a minimal amount of material. The steel deck is permeable, allowing water, plants and wildlife to move beneath. The timber seats and deck are made from wind felled trees. Reclaimed stone is used for stepping / seating.

The garden is full of recycled, repurposed and recyclable materials. The garden will use no virgin concrete at the show, instead utilising screw piles. The relocation plan means that almost zero wastage will be generated by the garden.

Alnus glutinosa 'Pyramidalis' emerge though the pavilion, showcasing the importance of plant selection; Alder wood hardens in water and can survive submerged. The roots have nodules that capture nitrogen improving soil fertility. They can also absorb toxic heavy metals from the ground, helping to restore waste industrial land. All plants are chosen to cope with varying access to water.

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