Mstation.org



Mstation Book Reviews
Valid RSS pre Dec 04 reviews are here


Tue, 01 Mar 2005

Country House

Dominic Bradbury,
New Country House,
Laurence King

Urban people all over the world often think that they'd like to escape, at least for a while. The Net even makes it possible for some professions to stay pretty much where they like and still be able to get necessary work done. So, if you had a chance, what would you build?

This book starts with a survey of what people have done over the ages: from Blenheim Palace to Thoreau's hut at Walden Pond. It points out that while people currently, in a place like the Hamptons, build mock-this and mock-that at a rate of two to one to modernist structures, there is a growing body of original work. This work is mostly more inspired by Thoreau and also modern thought on environmental topics -- such as low use of resources, both in building and sustainability.

The Thoreau inspiration has to do with the buildings being more a part of their surroundings than being a social statement of the importance of their owners (though they do, of course, make a statement) and the idiom is mostly Modernism.

After the survey come the various houses selected and they are split into Organic, Vernacular, New Modern, and Experimental. Architecture geeks will have seen some of them such as the Berman House by Harry Seidler, Casa de Blas, and Okada's house on Mt. Fuji but most will be new.

In the Experimental section is a house by Shigeru Ban which uses polycarbonate as an outer layer, white fireproofed polyethylene "noodles" as a second layer, and removable (for cleaning) white nylon as a third layer. As one goes through the book there are quite a few scalable ideas regarding construction and design.

The book is nicely produced and laid out with lots of illustrations and should provide food for thought for people thinking about doing something sometime.

[] permanent link