Architects: Mark Merer
Location: Somerton, Somerset TA11, UK
Designer: Mark Merer
Consultant Architect: Art Peterson
Engineering: John Beverage
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Louis Porter
From the architect. Welham Studios started with the study of placement, watching objects in clay and sand creating shapes through the interaction of the wind and rain. The work is looking for a union of object and environment.
One aspect of the work developed into the basic forms using triangulation, and this work was the basis of a project with the Swinomish Tribal people of Fidalgo Island Washington State.
The Swinomish housing project which has become known as Landhouse started in 2006 It was a visit to my studio by a couple who lived in Seattle. They became interested in the work being done, its physical relationship with the ground and how it translated into a building.
The Pennock’s saw an opportunity to connect myself with an Architect friend of there's, Art Peterson of Cedar Tree Architects in Seattle, who had been working with Ray Williams of the Swinomish Tribal People of Fidalgo Island Washington State, they had just completed the building of a Traditional long House.
They had been discussing the current housing situation on Fidalgo Island which is a long way from the beliefs and traditions of the Swinomish and bore no resemblance to their surroundings. The houses are currently designed and placed regardless of the Landscape and their Traditions.
A meeting was organized and out of it came the idea to develop an environmentally sensitive scheme for an allocated development area and Landhouse was born. The structures were refined and developed into module units comprising of Elder, Student, Single family, Vacation, Multifamily and community facilities.
I came back to the UK and decided to build one which is now almost completed and due to be opened in the spring of next year. This has become Welham Studios that my wife Artist Lucy Glendinning and I work from.
The building is constructed in structurally insulated panels using the factory in Seattle that was involved in the Swinomish project; this was to be a test for the modular units.
We used thermoform 3ply cladding that came in 5m by 2m sheets. The roof is a EPDM membrane with a inbuilt root barrier, a 100mm substrate with a wild flower turf.
We are know looking for Partners to set up a US wide Research program for developing designs in the Landscape with Tribal communities in collaboration with Landhouse.