I was surprised at the lack of critical analysis by David Taylor in his review of James Gorst's Whithurst Park Cottage in West Sussex (AJ 29.11.01). My initial reaction to the house was very favourable, but the more I looked at it the less certain I became. Space will not permit an in-depth examination, but here are a couple of examples.
First, the treatment of bedroom two. The 'hay barn typological reference' results in the window to this room being located on the north elevation;
thereby depriving the room of sunlight and the view to the west. Surely Gorst could have somehow incorporated a window facing west, maybe with an exquisitely detailed shutter so that it all but disappears when the room is not in use?
Second, the concealed stainless steel gutter and heavily cranked internal downpipes which 'resolves the junction between the vertical boards and the roof and avoids the use of external rainwater downpipes'.
We are told that 'Gorst had considered creating two linear reflecting pools around this (the path between the garages and the house), but thought better of the idea, with the prospect of too many dank leaves getting in the way.' And, indeed, the east elevation would appear to be very close to a range of mature trees;
hence my concern. Won't those 'dank leaves' block the gutter on the east elevation? We are not told how many internal downpipes there are per elevation, but I suspect there might be only one, and once this is blocked there could be all sorts of problems, especially if the leaves also manage to block one (or both) of the overflow pipes at either end of each gutter.
I appreciate the Classical simplicity of the concept and the rigour of its execution, but surely good architecture must work at all levels? Or am I just getting old? Oh dear, better add those slippers to my Christmas list (size 8 please, Santa).
David Grech, Frizington, Cumbria