Architect Designed House
The inspiration for this architect designed house was the iconic modern house designs of Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra in California in the 1920s and 1930s. This line of mid-century modern design continued to evolve in the ‘Case Study House programme’ also built in California from the 1960s by Craig Ellwood and others.
All of these design directions had their roots in the stunningly revolutionary architectural design work of Le Corbusier (espoused in his canonical work ‘Vers une architecture’), Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus team amongst others working in post first world war Europe.
These architects broke away from the accepted version of bourgeois villa design in the direction of a didactic modernist agenda. This radical new vision replaced the stultified continuation of an exhausted, devalued traditional / vernacular architectural style. The self-styled ‘International Style’ embraced the opportunities of recent advances in engineering and material techniques (particularly reinforced concrete or beton brut) and rejected the reactionary values which had been rendered meaningless by the social upheaval of the first world war.
The second reinterpretation of the ‘International Style’ tempered the political and socialist undertones of the European original to suit the hedonistic lifestyle of the post WW2 American Dream. The work of the case study programme, commenced in the 1960s, was looking to define a new era of clean simple and breathtakingly ‘cool’ modernist design that would reflect the values of the emerging modern post war generation and seamlessly incorporate modern technology, embracing comfort, swimming pools, appliances such as dishwashers and air conditioning.
On arrival the visitor simply drives off the highway into the curtilage. No gates, no ceremony, minimal signage, just pulling off the road. Our mission to be very democratic, very easy and low maintenance.
The use of steel frame (as opposed to load bearing masonry) and reliable flat roof materials mean that the plan form does not need to be dictated by the pitched roof construction. This allows a versatility in the design which can open up a number of subtle plan opportunities to reflect and respond to site conditions.
Open plan design
The living accommodation is one open flowing space integrating living, dining and kitchen uses in a single volume. This allows all these uses to enjoy the central open fire feature at the heart of the shared space - a celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s central premise.
Fenêtre en longuer
The steel frame with enhanced structural properties compared to traditional structure allows wide span openings which can be swept open to welcome sunshine and embrace views.
The steel frame allows the roof to ‘float’ over the walls so allowing an extraordinary sense of openness and space, embracing sunlight and views to the sky at all times of day and night.
The use of flat roof materials allows the introduction of up-stand roof lights that pour natural light and sunlight into internal rooms in a plan that would not be possible in a traditional construction scheme.
Careful design and modern engineering allow the inside floor level to coincide with the outside. This allows the experience of the interior space flowing unhindered to the outside landscape and decking which creates a totally new experience of a seamless transition between inside and outside.
Flow of space
The design seeks to optimise the sense of engagement between inside and outside. The house allows the garden to be enjoyed whilst maintaining a connection to the beach. The house also works as a comfortable home in mid-winter with high winds and cold outdoor temperatures. The glazing solution allows for this.
Passive solar gain
The low emissivity coated glazing uses solar gain from the rising sun. This contributes to the heating and minimalizes the use of fossil fuels. The garden facing evening sun terrace enjoys the natural heat of the day in a sheltered location. For a large part of the year the passive solar gain minimises fossil fuel use.
The detail of door linings, architraves and skirtings has been carefully resolved and executed to keep every surface flush with the wall plane. This may seem irrelevant but once you have seen the visual and design impact of this on the overall look and feel you will realise the purpose and difference this makes.
Modernist design detail
The Beach house has been executed to a high standard throughout with a consistent commitment to high quality resolved modern design detailing in good quality materials. Brushed stainless steel has been used throughout as a finish on ironmongery, switchplates etc.
The rest of the appearance is made by nature in the form of the soft garden landscape setting, including a small lawn, with trees and shrubs including a brick built boundary planter to contain and soften the outside garden space.
Simplicity of material palette
The house has been created using the following materials:
- White render
- Stainless steel
- Powder coated steel for framing and metalwork elements
- Sand coloured brick boundary walls
- Timber decking
- Splashes of accent colour
This simple palette creates an elegant minimalist design.
Award winning architecture
Pagham Beach House won a Civic Trust Award in 2003 and a Sussex Design and Sustainability Award in 2005.