The owners' house, a stately brick Federal Style structure had been designed in the 1920's by William Perry, the architect responsible for the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. It sat tenuously on its large property, with a disproportionately tight entry drive and an ungainly terra cotta structure for a neighbor. When the owners succeeded in purchasing the neighboring property, they demolished the adjoining house, and set about the task of converting a steep, rocky hillside into a romantic English Park.
The ensuing landscape stretched a good distance from the formal side of the Federal style house, and the owners started thinking about a destination that would beckon them to the far end of the property. Early proposals ran the gamut from a Japanese inspired teahouse to a glassy Miesian Yoga space. During frequent business trips to England the owners found themselves drawn to the formal composure of Palladian inspired English classicism.
The Pavilion, as it came to be called, evolved into a large, airy room with French doors and pyramidal skylights modeled after the orangeries found on English estates. A band of service spaces on the far side of the main room, including a kitchen, provides a visual termination and conceals the service court beyond.
An Ohio Sandstone exterior was chosen for its medium ochre color. It is a stone that weathers well, and will acquire the patina that one expects in a proper garden structure. It also lends itself well to the accurately carved classical detailing of the exterior. Like most soft stones, it is too porous to sit directly on the ground, and is most often seen set on a granite base. In this case, granite was judged to be too monumental, and a soft but durable Pennsylvania bluestone was selected for the stepped base and the adjoining terrace.
The garden sensibility is continued to the interior with a brushed and pillowed French limestone floor and a delicate Portuguese limestone fireplace mantel. The interior millwork with strié – painted pilasters and ceiling beams echoes the neoclassical design of the exterior.
Unlike its antecedents, the Pavilion is not a mass masonry building. The structural system consists of 4" steel tube columns with diagonal bracing and conventional wood frame infill. The wall sheathing is protected with a vapor-permeable water barrier that defines the exterior drainage plane. The stone cladding is installed on stainless steel anchors fastened to the steel frame, and is kept 1" away from the drainage plane. The stone façade was fabricated on CNC saws and lathes to the architect's CADD drawings, practically eliminating on-site cutting and fabrication.