The Upper Lawn Pavilion, Tisbury, Wiltshire
Through an acquaintance of the new owners of the Upper Lawns Pavilion I was permitted entrance to the newly renovated residence in 2004. I had been instructed that I could not take any photographs as the owners had arranged for one of the architectural periodicals to do a spread showing the building lovingly restored to its former beauty, understandably they didn’t want photographs leaked. I spent nearly two hours looking round and sketching, and that’s a lot of time when you consider the building is 62 m2, and by today standards that’s not big enough for a two bed flat.
Originally the site was a simple walled garden with a labourer’s cottage built into the north wall. It was when architects Alison & Peter Smithson acquired the land, that they set out create their own retreat in the countryside. First, they carefully demolished most of the cottage, leaving behind the north wall which formed part of the walled garden, and they also kept the fireplace which became central to the new structure.
The new structure built upon the north wall exudes the same beauty as that of a girl comfortable wearing no make-up, this is a building that sees no need to shout. The beauty comes not only from the honesty of the materials it's built from, and the way the materials are in conversation with one another displaying how they are joined to one another, but also I see beauty in the modesty of the construction. It is a primitive hut that makes me think of our ancestors many thousands of years ago, living from the land and not spending as much time as we do sheltered.
Just to give you an idea of the scale of this model, you can easily put your hand through the window openings.
The primary material in this model is plaster which I reinforced by adding staples to the mixture. Not only did this take a lot of time to set, but building the mould to pour the plaster into took even longer, this was a worry as you only get one try. Thankfully I had calculated the mixture correctly and didn’t have any problems. The reason I used plaster was to highlight the existing structure and to show contrast in terms of weight between this and the light weight structure the Smithson’s built. I built the Light weight structure using walnut, as it was the closest I could get to the teak used on the actual building, also on the corner a sheet of aluminium to emulate that of the zinc cladding.