DC/SS House, London Greenbelt

London, England, United Kingdom
Location
  • London, England, United Kingdom
  • Detailed Complexity meets Sculptural Simplicity

    Beauty lies in precision, craftsmanship, and a connection to nature. This house rests within a sculptured landscape and is composed of a series of experiences and dwelling places that integrate the inhabitants into the landscape while animating their architectural journey. Conceptually the volumes of the residence are created through a purity of language inspired by Donald Judd and then overlaid with collage like gardens inspired by Frank Stella. It is through this paradoxical relationship of minimalist form and maximalist compositions that this artfully composed residence emerges.
    The house is diagrammatically symmetrical across both its longitudinal and transverse elevations and connected to the ground through a sweeping sculptural earthwork that draws one toward the elevated entrance level. The main arrival façade is symmetrically balanced with a square arrival court as a negative volume and square parking court/ garage as a positive volume. Both are defined through finely detailed concrete. The entrance façade has a localized symmetry with white glazed brick panels flanking a glass center section creating an A/A/A rhythm. In the center of the arrival court a massive transplanted oak tree which signifies the culmination of the arrival sequence. Longitudinally the house is glass and white glazed brick social volume flanked by a wooden ‘box’ housing the private family space on one end and a concrete section housing the arrival sequence, office, and quest quarters. This divides the house into a sequence of sculptural forms and allows it, in aide with the large earthwork, to act as a sculptural element in the landscape.

    Upon arrival to the entrance foyer one stands within a light filled box looking out over a roof garden inspired by the collages of Frank Stella. This exuberant collection of different heights and textures of vegetation creates a visual tapestry that juxtaposed the decidedly English monumental lawn folding and following on the sculpted terrain below. Moving down to ground level one arrives in a gallery with axial views across the pond to a sculpture by Donald Judd. The living room takes advantage of the 90.7 hectare acre site with floor to ceiling glass walls on the opposing primary exposures offering sweeping bidirectional views of the English country side. However the true highlight on the interior space is a sensory light room designed in the spirit of (or possibly in collaboration with) James Turrell. This cylindrical room creates shifting compositions of colored light that can either showcase the local skyscape or bath the room in powerful experiences of color. This meditative and inspirational experience is at the experiential nexus of the house between the social and private sections.
    This residence forged with the orthogonal simplicity of Donald Judd, directed by the formality and symmetry of an English country manor, is then animated with transcendent experiences of James Turrell and enlivened by the compositions of Frank Stella. While this home may be in and of art the most important work resides not in the sculpture its self nor in the sculpture garden that has turned golf holes into alfresco art museum but rather in the connection to the sifting qualities of nature.

    The house is made out of five materials: glass, wooden screens that have been fitted into a tight flush grid, glazed white brick with a thin mortar joint, and vegetation. The vegetative collage of the roof garden coupled with the planted walls in the roof top walled garden make nature an integral component in the articulation of building form.

    The paradoxical union of complexity and simplicity expresses the conceptual combination of nature, in its collage like wild form, with the purity of the neoclassical English country. Furthermore the intricacy of the shifting detailing within this home serves to articulate the diagrammatic simplicity of the form while simultaneously animating the space through a warmth and intricacy of materiality.

    The arrival sequence begins with a new arrival gate, this elongated plane of glazed white brick slices through the English country landscape in a way that is sympathetic to the vernacular through the use brick yet foreshadows the sculptural simplicity of the primary residence. Once beyond the threshold of the gate one drives on a crushed limestone road through an allée of tress which have been filled in and formalized from their current state. Of the right is a field for riding and a linear stable with a reflecting pool cum water trough. Once through the processional of trees the drive curves and ramps up toward the elevated entry to the home. The main arrival façade is symmetrically balanced with square arrival court as a negative volume and square parking court/ garage as a positive volume expressed with finely detailed exposed concrete. The entrance façade has a localized symmetry with white glazed brick panels on either side and glass center section creating an A/A/A rhythm. In the center of the arrival court a massive transplanted oak tree surround by granite paving blocks which make up this permeable driving surface.

    Once inside one stands within a light filled box one looks out over a roof garden inspired by the collages of Frank Stella. This exuberant collection of different height and textured vegetation creates a visual tapestry that juxtaposed the decidedly English monumental lawn folding and following above the sculpted terrain below. Also on the entrance level is a private office with a dedicated entrance and a conference/gun room. Guest or family can take either the lift or stairs down to ground level. Upon arrival in the ground level gallery you have axial views across the pond to a sculpture by Donald Judd, turning toward the primary gather space of the home you pass a corridor with long window bench, a large eat in kitchen and formal dining room on your way to principal living space. The Living room has full height glass walls on the opposing primary exposures offering sweeping biaxial views of the pond and forest to one side and views through a newly defined vegetative view corridor to agricultural land beyond. This space takes full advantage of the luxury of a 90.7 hectare acre site.

    The house is formed from a more rational language volumetric purity while the overlaying roof, a natural garden inspired by the abstract collages of Frank Stella is more exuberant in its modulation.

    Matthew Dudzik uploaded DC/SS House, London Greenbelt through Add A Home.
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