Built by Skene Catling de la Pena in Waddedson, Buckinghamshire and completed in 2015, a flint and chalk house and annex is a project designed to be fully integrated in the landscape, as the architects describe:
The long, narrow building is crossed at three points, binding the form to its context. These three strips or ‘cuts’ have very different material realities and each uses a different means to pull the landscape through the architecture; optical, material, and finally elemental: with the physical coursing through of water.
The road, cuts through at the lowest habitable point. The walls are bands of two-way mirror, creating a rhythm though the space. The mirror pulls panoramas deep into the core of the building, and reflections reverse light into otherwise dark spaces. The two way mirror allows views out of the building during the day, and lights the openings and entrance at night.
The garden cuts through the building at the centre, linking the sitting room to the landscape beyond. The mysterious dark green serpentine stone dissolves into the surrounding moss and ferns. The floor rises and folds back on itself to become a bench in the garden. The bridge between the sitting room and study appears to merge into the water below it. As the top of the building blurs into the sky, so the base blends into the earth.
The river cuts between the sitting room and the study, creating a series of spaces that have an offset visual relationship to each other over water. The walls of this cut are lined with raw, bone-like nodules of flint, forming a secret grotto dripping with vines and animated by firelight. Architecturally, the role of the water is to create a boundary between the public areas of the house, and the truly private or even ‘cerebral’: prosaically. This is a crossing point where the building becomes more mythological or dreamlike.
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