A house in the country…

A trip to the Suffolk seaside for fish and chips on the beach (well, in the pub…) included a stop along the way to visit the Snape Maltings home of Benjamin Britten’s Aldeburgh Music empire, a great pile of accreted, secreted and converted Victorian industrial buildings looking over the reedy marshes and the river estuary towards the distant shingly shore…

…which sensitively reflects its traditional fishing character…

The Snape Maltings is romantic, grand and serious with only a modicum of tourist tat confusing the central mission, but then there’s this:

end elevation

A funky little house plonked in the middle of an unformed street on the edge of the musical empire. Nice bit of corten. Turns out its called ‘Dovecote Studio’ – maybe referring to the former use of the broken brick shell the corten rises out of? Windows in a dovecote? Its a space for composers, writers and visual artists – it says here – no doubt those who don’t mind the curious world peering in their windows, or not quite enough room for a sitting down, let alone swinging, cat. Cute though. House-y too, in a location completely devoid of houses. So clearly one was called for.

corner view

Its not without neighbours and there’s maybe some thought given to a relationship with outdoor space beyond these doors, but the existing ivy and new plants along this side suggest its future may be to disappear, to become an ivy-cloaked house form, a symbolic building only…..?

side elevation

side elevation

Sorry about the weather – it gets worse…. This is the context, some wonderful old and new buildings, and great open views across the flat, marshy river estuary towards a meeting with the North Sea. I’m not sure how the artists could stay barricaded in this little steel house-let when the wind and the rain lash in from the coast – too exciting. And just out the window across the paddock to the east, Barbara Hepworth’s Family stand gazing out over the estuary….

Go for a walk! Its much more inspiring… even in the rain…


So who wouldn’t like a house in the country with a Barbara Hepworth at the bottom of the garden and a major concert hall in the east wing?


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