Project Name: Round Hill Pavilions
Practice: Spatial Affairs Bureau
Firm Location: USA, UK
Completion year: 2015
Project Location: Orange, Virginia
Photo Credits: Spatial Affairs Bureau
(“Text as submitted by architect”)
A collection of new structures responds to existing markers and creates new ones in this building and landscape masterplan in Orange, Virginia. Exploring the systems of the English Picturesque applied to a cluster of vernacular-inspired barns, the buildings and their setting are placed in a forced dialogue with dissecting view corridors and pathways. Three pavilions – ‘the kitchen’, ‘the living room’ and ‘the dining room’ – each cut into by the views the others reach towards, form a central gathering point that looks beyond towards a jetty on the pond, a privy in the woods, a bee keeper’s dell and a log store.
The mile-long approach to the pond across the farm has been reconsidered to form a constructed arrival experience. The site is clarified as a series of ecological conditions – wet and dry hedgerow, wild meadow and woodland – with new plant materials and ground treatments to create and accentuate. The placement of the barns is informed entirely by the existing prompts of topography, water and forest.
Defining the setting for a cluster of new structures, the landscape masterplan uses systems from the 18th century English Picturesque to adjust and mould the existing setting creating long and close intense views around the pond. This system is also taken into the buildings as a conceptual driver of apertures and relationships back to points in the constructed landscape. Instead of creating a single structure, we requested the chance to build a small collection of buildings that would be more imbedded in the landscape than one single monolithic one – the uses were split between: we called the various pavilions ‘kitchen’, ‘living room’, ‘dining room’, just like you’d find in a house, but the each was in its own structure. We also used the language of the vernacular barn that we could then cut away at to form the framing views from one to the next and then beyond to the landscape.
It speaks to traditional rural building forms but in order to create a contemporary intervention, taking up issues of The Picturesque for the 21st Century. On some level it is also a critique of an increasingly common impulse of using ‘barns’ as a rediscovered language.