This project was to build a new neo-classical lakeside villa on the site of an unprepossessing 1950’s house with a spectacular view over a lake towards the Austrian mountains. The client first came across me through my designs of the Rotunda Bookroom which had won the World of Interiors Award. She loved the Greek Doric columns and this formed the starting point of the design of her new house. Essentially, the client was an Anglophile who loved English Regency buildings but local German architects didn’t seem to understand what she was looking for.
This villa, built on a sloping site down to the lakeside, appears on the front facade to be quite modest but as can be seen on the section drawings, we excavated deep down to form a number of subterranean rooms including a spa, a gym, and a swimming pool. To house my client’s extensive collection of clothes, bags and shoes, I also designed a room not unlike a Louis Vuitton boutique.
The total area of the building was 21,000 sq ft. For the principal entrance hall, stairs and landing, I developed and extended my earlier design of the Rotunda Bookroom, as can be seen in the drawings below. The garage was to take 12 cars and had an entrance on the basement level nearly as impressive as the main ground floor entrance. One of the challenges of a building like this was to incorporate a discreet lift to serve all floors without dominating the planning of the rest of the house. There were 3 kitchens – a service kitchen for entertaining, a functional kitchen for staff to run, and a family kitchen. The swimming pool had a rise and fall platform so that it could be turned into a ballroom for parties. The double-height conservatory was to be used for family meals and had access via a stone spiral staircase to a wine vault.
I think with a pencil in my hand and this is a key part of the design process. CAD is very useful at a later stage but drawing by hand is incredibly important for developing and perfecting ideas, as well as producing very quick sketch alternatives to discuss with the client. The design evolves through this process. In the production of working drawings I can identify any potential problems and develop solutions which ultimately enhance the quality and originality of the overall design.
I designed the garden to have a traditional appearance with a formal parterre, kitchen garden, viewing platform, avenues and orchard, but it also had to incorporate a small football pitch, trampoline and table tennis for the children. As the contour lines on the model each represent half a metre, considerable earth-moving was required. The client wanted an avenue of pleached limes with an orchard and a temple/summer house. The photographs you see are work in progress.