Friday, March 14, 2014

Salter Builds

Back in 2006 I posted that one of my favorite architects, Peter Salter, was hired by a former student-turned-developer "to create four bespoke houses in [London's] Notting Hill."

While finding some precedents for a class I'm teaching I came across Charles Holland's "brief paen to Peter Salter" from 2012, where he mentions that "the houses are currently on site." This is certainly good news, especially since it will be the first realized project in his home country. To date he has only completed buildings in Japan: Inami Woodcarving Museum and Kamiichi Pavilion, to name two of them.

The drawings and construction photos above come from the website of Baylight Properties, where the project is called simply "Walmer Road" and is supposedly "available in December 2012." I'm guessing this date was not reached, since the below Google street views come from April 2012, and even though I wasn't sure of the final form of the building, it looks like more than eight months of work is left.

An aerial from Google:

My digital sleuthing continued, and I discovered via Bing Maps that Mole Architects is working with Salter on the project. Their website has a rendering of what the building will look like on the street:

Mole's website also has some of Salter's sketches as well as a few construction photographs that show a little bit more progress on the structure.

I'm most intrigued by this wood volume being fabricated off site:

It appears to be what is depicted in the section sketch by Salter shown at the top of this drawing collage:

It's worth ending this post with some of Holland's words from the paen mentioned above, as they seem appropriate here:
"Reassuringly, he remains committed to the hand-drawing, which presumably now someone has to translate into construction documents. The same naked people and bulbous forms appear in the drawings for this scheme, seemingly blissfully unconnected to pragmatic concerns of Lifetime Homes requirements or the number of recycling bins. [...] The strange thing is that, after all those years obsessively looking over Salters's drawings I have genuinely no idea what this building will look like. Looking at the plans ... gives little clue. Salter's drawings were always both explicitly literal and almost completely opaque. Everything is rendered with utter deadpan realism apart from what it might look like."
Update 03.15: Here's a lecture from about a year ago in which Peter Salter discusses the Walmer Road project: