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Concept Design Options

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The comments below are from Alvyn, our architect. In his comments he makes reference to a building at Montsalvat.

This is it;














Montsalvat is one of our favourite places and when talking to Alvyn we discovered that it is also one of his!


Hi there,

Because i won’t be there to explain the drawings in person i’ll make some notes about each sheet

I would like to determine a direction for the site layout before exploring more detailed internal design questions... hence we are looking to choose from the following

1 site analysis

Basic opportunities and constraints – drive location, header tank location, one issue was the dam overflow requirement... we need to be mindful of how to address that in the Masterplanning... fire and soil assessments need to be done

2 concept layout a

This has the house in the lowest position on the site, meaning that the vertical distance from the drive and workshop areas is less (ie not so much exercise to get from the car to the house) it moves the house farthest from the dam wall, with a series of naturalistic terraces above the house.  It creates a one-sided village streetscape, with the landscape and planting forming framed landscape views to the other side of the valley. A more organic layout (there is a 15m straight line you will be able to swim in the middle of the bent lap pool by the way)

3 concept layout b

This lifts the house area about 2 – 3m above the farmyard level, allowing more opportunity for expanded flat areas to the north of the house.  By facing the house a bit to the east – preferencing morning sun – the impact of the dam wall can be toned down a bit... The workshop area is a drive-through building – there is one at monsalvat like this which would beautifully frame the distant view.  The woodshed – i have this idea for a tall funky little structure – perhaps like a folk-clocktower where wood and garden tools can be stored on two levels.  You would walk around this structure a lot when passing between the levels... this layout is more like a village that has grown over time than the other options

4 concept layout c

This is my response to appeasing rickey’s sense of order, but shows you how a more formal layout can still address the site.  Wide terraced gardens and entertainment areas with broad steps (a bit classical Italian maybe) with buildings being in alignment with each other...trickier with solar design,but not impossible and you might be horrified with what i have done with the espaliered orchard (rotated the rows) all in the name of order, but it has a distinctive effect on the site which is not unpleasant in my opinion

5 i have included a header tank location, perhaps with a bit of extra deck for a lookout – cup-of-tea spot with a view in the northwest corner in all the options

6 the reedbed and water storage tank areas i think are not that flexible for view preservation and effective site use – same on all 3

7 there is also a building element on the lower dam, a shelter (fishing platform / boathouse) that could place a bit of nicely detailed architecture in the foreground view from many areas. I believe this will lend a sense of people (you) fitting in with or being a part of the landscape when you look from inside the house or other garden areas... similar to the way people often photograph the little boathouse on the lake at cradle mountain in order to give scale and interest to an otherwise purely landscape scene

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback and which direction you would like to move forward with

Best wishes....

alvyn williams

soft loud house architects

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 August 2010 00:30