When I picture my ideal place to live, it’s in natural surroundings, embedded in the local environment. In truth this could be a number of different environments, but the ‘natural’ connection is key – it’s common knowledge that time spent in nature is hugely beneficial to us, and I couldn’t agree more. So, each time my wife and I have moved over the years (and there have been quite a few moves), we have always strived for locations and structures that fulfil this need, but there is always ‘room for improvement’ so to speak.
My family and I have just returned from holiday – as always, being in a place (further) in the countryside and away from technology (well, most of it…) reminded us of some of the things easily forgotten in our day-to-day life – not least ’being’ in our surroundings and enjoying a pace of life that we often strive for.
One of the most appealing aspects of architecture for me is the response to an environment – how the placement, form and materials work with (or against) a site, and how these factors influence the intended use. Structures built in challenging environments demand more specificity, however these constraints can often yield results that are not only functionally suited to local conditions, but are also beautiful in their form.
When we moved into our current house, I knew I’d made it – not only did we take ownership of a huge loft in which to ‘store’ all our ‘seasonal’ stuff, we also now had 3 outbuildings. Fast-forward a few years and both loft and ‘sheds’ are now well stocked – the latter with essential man-tools, bikes and beer. But inevitably all that space isn’t now quite enough and I’ve been on the hunt for another potential solution to my outdoor storage ‘crisis’.
The Great Outdoors – if I’m honest, that’s where I really want to be much of the time. Over the years my wife and I have been lucky enough to live in some amazing places (most recently Lewes, East Sussex), but no matter where we are we always gravitate to our roots – the countryside. Inevitably, there’s a fair bit of talk in our house about living a life more integrated with the surroundings, and being designers, what that might mean aesthetically as well as practically.