Not to be trite, but if there ever was a moment when the expression “one picture is worth a thousand words ” was apropos I think it would be now. You are looking at
the Sliding House designed by Alex de Rijke, one of the principals of the hot architectural firm based in London called dRMM, short for deRijke Marsh Morgan Architects. I discovered it when I was surfing the net looking for some out there greenhouse designs (see post.)
This is greenhouse/ green house and then some. The house is located in the county of Suffolk in England , a place of rolling hills and naturally beautiful coastline adjoining the North Sea. What began as a weekend retreat for the owner, a long time friend of De Rijke, became a full time residence for him and his family.
There are three barn-like buildings: the main house, an office and a garage. The phenomenal aspect of the construction is the 20 ton mobile shell of lumber, steel and insulation, which literally slides back and forth over the glass house section, enclosing the glass section of the house in different degrees of privacy. According to de Rijke, the inspiration for the design came from “…A lifelong love of movement and surprises…(and)playing with the English lack of summer houses and a love of Dutch barn models and motorcycles.”
The “sleeve”, as the moving part of the house is known, takes six minutes to totally encase the house, and is completely noiseless. The interior of the house is simple and sensible, with low maintenance surfaces and interior walls painted red to match the exterior red and black stained larch wood.
The owner rightly defines his home as going from “conservatory to cave,” adding that you become quite sensitized to the differences in light with the changing seasons. There are future plans for a swimming pool, which would also be covered by the sliding element…and perhaps a garden and who knows what else?
De Rijke has received raves reviews for his clever and original design, and has inspired other architects to attempt to integrate sliding elements into their work. I am totally on board with this “sliding house” concept…now how do I get de Rijke out to my Fire Island digs to discuss this matter? You have to agree this is a real thumbs up when it comes to wild and wonderful architecture?
I thought you would love to listen to this captivating video made by Wallpaper magazine, which features the owner of the house, Ross Russell, telling you about his experience living in the house. I love the last line where he quotes de Rijke telling him, “We are prepared to be radical!” That certainly says it all!
CIAO, CIAO ‘TIL NEXT TIME!