Rory Olcayto introduces six recently built homes by six British architects: three urban, three rural, each in distinct locations across the British Isles
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Your introduction to Architecture with a capital A probably came through the study of one-off homes. During my first year at university a series of lectures focused on the qualities of Mackintosh’s Hill House, FLW’s Fallingwater, Corb’s Villa Savoye and Robert Venturi’s mother’s house.
I remember we had to write an essay too, on Hermann Muthesius’ Das Englische Haus, that curious, exhaustive, turn-of-the-century study of British house design. A design project for an artist’s home and studio followed, but only after a close look at the Long Island home and studio Charles Gwathmey designed for his parents.
To this day, the house remains the most fertile test-bed of architectural ideas, whether spatial, material or programmatic. The house, however, is also crucial to the business of architecture. Many first commissions are to design, remodel or extend domestic properties. Indeed both Gwathmey’s and Venturi’s were their first built projects.
Over the next 18 pages, we present six recently built homes by six British architects: three urban, three rural, each in distinct locations across the British Isles, and not in London. There is nothing scientific about the sample, but taken together, in their response to site, composition and choice of materials and finishes, we can frame a snapshot of contemporary British house design. As ever, we welcome your comments. Rory Olcayto