Purple Home by David Kohn Architects has received the coveted RIBA Home of the 12 months 2022 title – crowning this idiosyncratic rural Dorset residence because the nation’s greatest new single-family residential undertaking. Its creator David Kohn, the London-based architect and founding father of his namesake studio, was thrilled. ‘It’s tremendous thrilling. I used to be fairly flabbergasted, it’s a really particular honour,’ he confessed. However take one take a look at Purple Home, and it is instantly clear that this particular honour goes to a fairly particular undertaking.
RIBA HOUSE OF THE YEAR 2022: Purple Home by David Kohn
On paper, and with out having seen it, describing Purple Home could make it seem comparatively abnormal – unassuming, even. It’s a purple brick home (like many within the nation), with a pitched roof (a standard typology within the countryside, particularly), an extended and skinny floorplan (once more, incessantly discovered within the agricultural style), and a few inexperienced accents (a nod to the verdant expanses round it).
But take a more in-depth look and whereas all of the above stay true, each element and each selection has been given a particular therapy, an oomph, a twist that makes this home fairly extraordinary. Having its roots firmly positioned in a way of the ‘abnormal’ means the top consequence elevates its style and surprises; it’s playful, whereas additionally tackling on a regular basis issues round dwelling and home area head-on.
The purple brickwork, for instance, makes use of a number of totally different bond sorts, some vertical, and a few horizontal; the inexperienced is an attention-grabbing, vibrant shade utilized in window and door frames, in addition to numerous exterior metallic particulars, which have in flip been given a barely exaggerated, expressive, uncommon form; and a collection of curves, from porthole home windows to brick components, and a bed room ceiling that feels nearly like a material hanging from a body, add a way of motion, clearly marking this residence as modern, standing aside from its friends.
Quirkiness and challenges – and having perimeters and restrictions – are essential in structure, in line with Kohn: ‘Shoppers are crucial to us – and that isn’t paying lip service to the thought. I very a lot take pleasure in speaking about design, having a dialog the place you might be studying about somebody and understanding their needs and desires. I don’t respect the thought of carte blanche a lot. And the extra you’re employed with somebody, the extra you perceive that everybody is idiosyncratic in their very own means and that drives what’s particular within the design each time.’
This was the case with Purple Home too. When the purchasers approached Kohn, they’d already tried a number of options by working with a handful of various architects. Having collaborated with Kohn prior to now, albeit on artwork tasks, they determined to attempt his tackle residential design. On the similar time, they had been eager to get the undertaking finished quick. Kohn’s professional method and deep understanding of all of the wants and parameters across the transient shortly bore fruit. ‘I drew a design for them fairly shortly and the top consequence hasn’t diverged an excessive amount of from that unique design,’ the architects says.
There have been some key constraints that got here with the undertaking, which Kohn and his crew folded into their answer, designing with them – as an alternative of round them – to make sure the ultimate product felt natural and holistic, a celebration as an alternative of a compromise. As an illustration, for planning functions, it was sensible to work with the lengthy, skinny footprint of an present agricultural construction on web site – and the crew adopted it.
The homeowners’ artwork, design objects and numerous collections and processions wanted a house inside this residence, to permit for the inside to look much less cluttered. Kohn designed three ‘towers’ that are scattered throughout the floorplan, alternating with dwelling areas on the bottom flooring and offering the all-important hid storage and providers. They’re echoed on the surface by a change within the brick bond and sample. Kohn’s references embrace Alison and Peter Smithsons’ Put-Away Home, a conceptual residence designed round storage provision: ‘It is about acknowledging modern consumerism and making area for it, and right here we take a home and we construct the structure round these objects.’
One of many ‘towers’ incorporates a elevate – one other of the homeowners’ key requests – in order that the house is future-proofed for later life. That is helped additionally by its huge openings and accessible rooms. The distinct lack of corridors is one other noticeable characteristic in the identical vein. This transfer – creating an entire floor flooring with out doorways or corridors – was mentioned in depth between Kohn and his purchasers, utilizing references corresponding to the tutorial essay ‘Figures, Doorways, and Passages’ by Robin Evans, which analyses the historical past of the home and our use of it.
The crew pulled concepts across the hall and the way this is usually a instrument to encourage or deter interplay amongst residents – serving to to segregate or unite areas, and due to this fact, have an effect on encounters. It was determined that on this case, these ought to be inspired, because the purchasers typically entertain friends. In the meantime, the design permits area for seclusion by crafting a collection of nooks throughout the plan the place the customers can really feel extra cocooned and personal.
‘And the lengthy, [ground-floor] enfilade of rooms works like that; it makes for a really sociable home,’ says Kohn. On the similar time, the homeowners loved having this dialog about historical past and idea coming alive via seemingly easy architectural gestures all through.
A dramatic, sculptural staircase takes guests as much as the personal areas, corresponding to bedrooms, loos, and a research. Once more, in its association and essence, this residence seems pretty ‘abnormal’ – but was the results of intense analysis and loads of dialog between architect and his purchasers. Architectural idea and educational references mix with sensible wants and pragmatic selections, making this residence a deeply thought of piece of residential structure, elegantly present within the area between abnormal and extraordinary, on a regular basis and actually particular.
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