x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

In architecture, the sky is not the limit

The Life: The architect behind the famous Skywood house outside London has a new project in the works.

Architecture circles are buzzing with news that Graham Phillips has started construction on a sequel to Skywood House, his award-winning modern glass house outside London.

Mr Phillips is the former chief operating officer of Foster + Partners, known for its ground-breaking, iconic projects around the world. The firm's Abu Dhabi projects include Masdar City, Central Market and the Zayed National Museum.

Skywood is one of those houses that has taken on a life of its own. A Royal Institute of British Architects award winner in 1999, it is frequently spotlighted in architecture books and TV shows on modern design.

And movies and TV programs often use it for location shoots, when a cool modern setting is required.

The house - meant to resemble a glass box in the woods, according its website - is set on 1.8 hectares in a greenbelt off the M25 highway near Denham. The small white house and its glass walls appear to float above a man-made lake, a mirage amid the woods.

Many architecture writers cite the Mies Van Der Rohe influence in the house, which covers only 250 square metres of floor space.

Although some observers questioned the practicality of living in a house with glass walls, the website declares the design is one of "elegant simplicity and complete harmony and so far has also proved to be entirely practical even with three teenage children".

Mr Phillips' new project, dubbed SkyHigh, is under construction on a cliff in south-west Mallorca, the Spanish island. While Skywood is a fairly simple one-storey design, Skyhigh will be a multi-level home built into the side of the cliff.

The house will be accessed by driving on to the roof, which will feature a "frameless glass balustrade", according to a description in Building magazine.

A glass lift will ferry people to the various levels, including a mezzanine and the main living area, which will feature double-height, glass-walled space.

The lower level will feature the obligatory infinity pool, offering views of the Mediterranean. A red wall with "angled fins" will guard the glass-walled house from nosy neighbours, the magazine reports.

The Quote: "Architecture is the art of how to waste space." Philip Johnson

kbrass@thenational.ae