White, light-filled spaces are what the majority of us crave after these days. Spaces that give a sense of openness with clean lines and smooth surfaces can provide a sense of equally clean living. Not many of us, and definitely not too many architects, create residential spaces that are dark, where light is restricted to specific portals, and where instead, inhabitants are surrounded by deep greys and blackened finishes.
Branch Studio Architects are creating a solid name for themselves as a studio that provides unique answers to uniques briefs. Pavilion Between Trees, is a residential addition that protrudes out from an existing 1990’s family home, creating a distinctly dark retreat for the owners to inhabit.
Unlike the open plan house, the extension is carved up by a central wall that separates the space into dressing and office spaces, with both areas leading to the bedroom at the end. The extension sits aesthetically separate from the main house, and comes with it’s own set of unique design decisions. One of those was to keep lighting off the ceiling and instead create a recess around the edge that allowed for natural light to bleed down the wall. Any additional lighting comes from fixed lights that are mounted to the central dividing unit. The rammed earth, black steel, stained wood and concrete walls all interact with this natural and artificial light by highlighting their unique textures - at times feeling dark and cave-like. The monochromatic palette also adds to this sensation and creates a strong sense of calm, with little, apart from the surrounding nature, to distract the mind.
The space is not however, all doom and gloom. The end bedroom is almost entirely encased by glass, giving an immediate sense of connection to the landscape as well as bringing the elements indoors without the user being physically effected by what those may be.