London based studio Edgley Design were a Wallpaper* directory pick earlier in the year. While their London-based work demonstrates an admirable simplicity and respect for the vernacular forms of the city, this new house in the Caribbean is a marked departure from cleverly contrived urban solutions.
Set on a steep, densely foliated hillside in the small island of Bequia, part of the Grenadines, the house is a fusion of influences, its form driven principally by the tropical climate. The layout references the Moroccan courtyard house, a traditional layout that uses internal courtyards to capitalise on the cooling effect of water pools and shade, offering up a more sheltered and austere set of façades to the surrounding hills.
Those external walls are also high, helping the internal shade as well as a sense of privacy, giving the structure a castellated look, a feeling accentuated by its lofty position overlooking the bay and rampart-esque terraces. External walls are rendered, floors are concrete and the simple horizonal balustrades inserted into the façade are made from Ipe wood, left untreated so they will weather with age.
The main living area is a large hall, with 5m glass doors that open directly onto the pool terrace. The four sleeping areas are arranged in two sets of 'towers', angled off the main courtyard. Bedrooms are located on the upper floor of each tower, reached by a private staircase, above a downstairs living space. In this way, the whole house is broken down into public and private, with the courtyard and main living room forming one continuous inside-outside space and the bedroom towers adding to the house's fortress-like appearance. A small guest annexe is location to the west, along with a sheltered terrace offering up views of the bay.
Services are pared down to the minimum, as befits an area without mains access, save for infrequent electricity. Cooling is achieved through the layout, which channels winds through the house and the glass-less windows. The concrete core is also designed to withstand the region's frequent hurricane force winds.