The Goulding Summerhouse is a breathtaking piece of mid-century modern architecture. Originally designed by Scott Tallon Walker Architects.
The house is located in Co.Wicklow, Ireland, in the exquisite Dargle Valley gardens of notable art collector, gardener, cricketer, squash player, and businessman, Sir Basil Goulding, who lived there with his wife Lady Valerie, until he died in 1982.
In its cantilevered structure, there are echoes of the Ben Rose House by Speyer and Haid (best remembered as Cameron’s dad’s house in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), especially considering its forest location. The structure also calls to mind the platform houses of John Lautner and the Richard Neutra Lovell Health House.
For this house, though, the reason for the cantilevering is much more touching. Instead of being about creating an impressive form for the house, or getting the best possible views out of a hilltop location, Goulding’s house was constructed in this was so that it would interfere as little as possible with the surrounding nature.
Indeed, Goulding was so concerned about how the home might disrupt the natural vegetation around the river gorge, that he had the home cantilever over it. Poking out from the trees, the resultant structure is supported by the only rock outcrop available. It makes the house look as if it hovers over the river.
The remarkable structure also has a huge effect on the interior of the home. Being more or less a glass box, with floor to ceiling windows on the three sides that extend from the rock, the surrounding nature is very present. This is helped by the elevation, so that the house is at the level of the treetops.
As the pictures relay, this provides a dazzling array of colours for your eyes to feast upon as you recline in the central lounge area. It also allows for the full appreciation of the diverse nature kept in the Dargle Valley gardens.
With such an impressive view of the outdoors, it’s no surprise that the rest of the interior decor is distinctly minimal: essentially only a couple of sofas and a lounge chair, both upholstered in an unassuming tan leather, just the kind of mid-century modern furniture we like.
The only other major furnishings to speak of are a couple of potted plants (which hardly disrupt the natural scenes on the other side of the window!).
Having been listed for preservation in 2000, Scott Tallon Walker were once again enlisted to restore the house.
The resultant restoration has ensured that this house looks as modern as it did when it was built almost half a century ago. Long may it continue to grace Dargle Valley with its presence!
Photo by Mark Haddawy