Project architect Tony Vella spoke with Peter Hyatt
of Vision about his client’s switch from rustic cabin
to sleek villa and glassy pavilion.
Duality of purpose.
“Window bays double as cool
places to hang-out,” Tony Vella
What qualities best define your design?
The project reveals itself quite slowly. On approach
it probably appears quite guarded and austere but
beyond that it opens itself to the setting. While
that’s probably expected, it does introduce a whole
new layer that continues to surprise most first time
visitors. In design terms it has an honesty of design
and construction. And it sits there comfortably. It isn’t
intended to be outlandish, or scream out for attention.
IN DESIGN TERMS IT HAS AN HONESTY OF
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION. AND IT SITS
THERE COMFORTABLY. IT ISN’T INTENDED TO BE
OUTLANDISH, OR SCREAM OUT FOR ATTENTION.
It really maintains that lineage reminiscent of
mid-century modern. Palm Springs for instance.
That’s an interesting observation because not long
after our initial briefing the clients visited Mies’
Farnsworth House and they returned with a huge
change of heart about the type of house they wanted.
The large site you have to work with introduces
opportunity but it also begs the question: Where do
you start and, just as importantly, where do you stop?
I think you’re right. There is a danger of overdoing
it. It’s very easy to become lost when there are
seemingly no real limits. Site selection wasn’t
so difficult. The glass pavilion sits on a ridge
which runs roughly east west along the site, the
curved bedroom wings and the straight, bigger
wing heading for the front dam follow the natural
site contours. The forecourt was already there
topographically and the entry of the front plateau
really set parameters.