25 July 2017
Conceived for clients who love design and contemporary art, The Quest is a house in the modernist style set in the countryside of the English county of Dorset. The building has just one story, containing all the functions of the residence designed by Ström Architects, three-quarters of which rests on a flat piece of grass-covered ground. The rest of the volume overhangs the natural slope of the site and provides the opportunity to create a covered space for the car. Although the entrance of the house is located on the main front, it is possible to gain access to the interior from the parking area by means of an elegant flight of steps made of Purbeck stone, used by the designers to underline the attention to local materials that has always characterized their work. From the structural viewpoint, to make the overhang possible the building has been conceived as a great beam formed by the concrete slabs of the floor and roof. The interior is laid out as an airy open space in which the shared activities of cooking, dining and living follow one another – elements that find an immediate relationship with the world outside thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The more private rooms, on the other hand, are protected by walls clad in slats made of wood—larch, to be precise. The continuity of the space is abruptly interrupted by the volume containing the fireplace which retains its form as it rises above the roof, acting as a geometric counterpoint to the horizontality of the house. In keeping with the approach that underpins the entire architectural intervention, the furniture also follows the rules of essentiality and formal coherence, making clear the intention of treating the internal spaces and the shell that contains them as a single organism, in which every detail is in harmony with the rest. It is evident that The Quest has been influenced by such magnificent examples of single-family homes that have immortalized the modernist aesthetic as Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House or Philip Johnson’s Glass House, skilfully recontextualizing the cultural message that these architects set out to deliver in the last century and whose echo can still be heard today in the voice of sophisticated contemporary architecture.