Posted by switch-smith at 10:11 AM . Sunday, August 14, 2011
An incredible glass pavilion home by Thomas Phifer and Partners.
Just behind the copse stands a delicately transparent pavilion. Its light-filtering trellis—a horizontal tracery of slender aluminum rods extending the roof plane—aligns with the canopy of trees before it. Woven into the landscape, this is an architecture of subtlety, a precisely grounded yet quasi-weightless structure, an ethereal rectangle, planted between two existing woods. Like feathery fronds, the trellis reaches toward the bordering leafy branches, while the pavilion’s interior floor plane—fully visible through the glassy, Miesian shell—continues outward, its surface of ebonized bamboo transformed into an exterior plinth of Indian black granite, a walkway, finely striated with shadows from the diaphanous, metal canopy above.
More than a one-bedroom retreat for a former museum director and his wife, this is also a place of extraordinary 20th century paintings, sculptures, and glassware—much of it conveying a sense of buoyancy or levitation that echoes the pavilion’s lightness. The artwork always figures into view out, even if only peripherally. Conversely, from the gardens, this colorful indoor collection projects a presence outdoors.
In the animated interplay between landscape and art, in the shifting ambiguities between inside and out, the design achieves exceptional balance. An arcing swath of vibrant yellow sedum in the garden resonates with the golden footbridge in a Chinese screen inside; a mossy rock garden projects into the pavilion’s simple volume, while the bedroom nestles into a private apse of garden vegetation. You can look straight through the house without realizing it, but you could also mistake reflections of trees for glimpses through the pavilion. Morphing with the skies, flourishing seasonally, the dialogue evolves, nourishing the owner’s desire to live in the garden—with art.
Complimenting the interior is a choice selection of mid-century modernism, including works by Arne Jacobsen, George Nelson, Isamu Noguchi, Florence Knoll, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Gehry.
From an article on contermporist, with photos by Scott Frances.