In Praise of the Shadow House
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Liddicoat & Goldhill, a young architectural practice in London, used an essay on Japanese aesthetics as a starting point for the design of their home, the Shadow House. Architects Sophie Goldhill and David Liddicoat met at the Royal College of Art in London; in 2007, they purchased a small plot of land in North London on which they designed and built an experimental house for themselves. Influenced by In Praise of Shadows , Junichiro Tanizaki’s 1933 essay on Japanese aesthetics, the couple believe there is poetry in the practical and adhered to simple construction methods and materials. “We wanted the interior spaces to have maximum emotional effect,” says Goldhill. “The raw construction has an honest and tactile quality, which is warm and intimate." Photography by Keith Collie . Above: Encouraged by planners to use brick, a local material, the couple sourced a slim-format Dutch engineering brick with a delicate black glaze. The book-matched Statuarietto marble panel is a distinctive accent. Above: The brick finish of the exterior is used for the interior walls as well, giving the house a feeling of raw construction, enhanced by exposed light bulbs. Above: The exposed beams are raw larch, while polished concrete floors flow throughout the house. Above: The window frames are lined in raw larch. Above: The wood stairs have been whitewashed, allowing the texture of the wood to come through. The shadow gaps between the stairs and wall accentuate their differences. Above: The exposed electrical boxes and conduits are in keeping with the honesty of the construction. Above: A toilet roll holder is carved out of the wall and lined in marble.