Silver House – Balance of the Parts
Silver House facade studies began as a series of formal explorations on composition and proportion, in response to an extremely exposed coastal location on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales. Moving from outline sketch to visualisation, elements were then further refined.
The images below show the steady evolution of that process, from conception sketch to final creation. Everything for us begins as a drawing in charcoal, pencil or ink, whatever is at hand to find the essence or the feeling and ultimately the emotion of the building.
In this case the initial drawing explores the idea of a solid dry stone wall at ground floor, penetrated by slick steel projecting window boxes shown in black. We thought of our clients living among the raw beauty of the area and wanted to provide an experience that would suspend them between the protection of the rooms themselves and the exposure of the elements.
At first floor the drawing explores the separation of mass and program to create two distinct objects. The Master bedroom object to the left at first floor is non directional, it merely opens one wall up to glass and views that were there for the taking.
We felt strongly that the living room element to the right at first floor should be powerful, confident and directional. A response to the ocean that confronted the South elevation.
The monopitch roof therefore falls downwards with confidence and speaks to the wind that will confront its facade almost daily. The buildings personality projects a subtle awareness of its context, not just topographical but nautical and even meteorological.
The final move was to position the external staircase centrally. This locked onto the major circulation spine of the home to reinforce the separation of the two first floor objects.
Things then began to lock together happily as they do when things feel right. Of course we prefer drawing to any other medium for initial exploration, nothing superfluous, no colour – just monochrome, as Le Corbusier said, ” I like drawing, it leaves less room for lies”.