This modern two-story house is located in the historic town of Bewdley in Worcestershire, England. Designed by architect Robert Swan for his family, the four-bedroom former stable sits directly adjacent to a 19th century Victorian viaduct on a plot of land once cultivated by the great garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. In contrast to the rural setting, Swan’s design took alternative cues from the cool air of California Modernism and the “precision” architecture of Le Corbusier.
Bertoia Diamond Chairs in Bewdley, Worcestershire by Robert Swan. Photograph courtesy of The Modern House.
Adopting the steel structural frame characteristic of Los Angeles’ modernist homes, the residence floats just a few feet off the ground. Swan did away with load-bearing walls in the home’s living and dining area, affording the open floor plan a degree of adaptability, in keeping with the second of Le Corbusier’s famous “Five Points of a New Architecture.” The horizontal, all-glass façade provides ample illumination and ventilation while dissolving the distinction between interior and exterior space. In turn, light and space governed the selection of furniture.
“Space passes through the [Bertoia Diamond Chairs] beautifully from all angles, the black rods reflected in the polished porcelain floor, hatching the view of dense bamboo from the faded Ipe decking.”
Saarinen Dining Table in Bewdley, Worcestershire by Robert Swan. Photograph courtesy of The Modern House.
Of the two Bertoia Diamond Chairs that flank the sliding door that opens onto the iroko patio, Swan explains, “space passes through them beautifully from all angles, and the black rods reflect in the polished porcelain floor, hatching the view of dense bamboo from the faded Ipe decking.” Outside stands a Saarinen Dining Table which “represents the unorthodox, arty style we aspired to: cool and free-shaped.” Together, the two designs leave the impression of an “unfamiliar style” that “makes the oak-beamed 18th century stable conversion appear light and young.”
Bewdley, Worcestershire by Robert Swan. Photograph courtesy of The Modern House.
Design: Robert Swan Architects
Photography: The Modern House