Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Clear Winner; HOMES & PROPERTY

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Clear Winner; HOMES & PROPERTY

Article excerpt

Byline: FAY SWEET

GLASS is a magical material that answers our desire for views and light while enhancing the quality of our interiors. Whether large or small, urban or rural, the best in contemporary homes all have one thing in common: the generous use of glass. Advanced technology makes glass not only solid and durable enough to provide shelter and protection from extremes of weather, but flexible for all manner of new uses. It's the product for today.

Architects have always relished the opportunity to exploit glass and push it to its technical limits. Sir Terry Farrell is just the latest to join the roll call of those enjoying the delight of this dream material in the home.

His most recent project is a trio of unusual contemporary courtyard houses at Petersham, near Richmond, in south-west London. Here, glass is used in vast floor-to-ceiling-size slabs across south-facing walls, it wraps around living rooms that jut into gardens as cubic pavilions and, in the 45-metre-long, doubleheight hall it is used the entire length of the ceiling to wash the spaces below with light. The level of transparency is such that barriers between interior and exterior melt away.

In addition, glass makes a crystalline enclosure for the stair, a long balustrade where the first floor looks into the grand hall and little ceiling cupolas that deliver discs of light into bathrooms and passageways.

City homes love glass. Leading London architects have chosen it as their first material in home design.

Fay Sweet visits new properties where the owners are enjoying the benefit of light and space Sir Terry joins lords Foster and Rogers as the latest signature architect to work for volume housebuilders. The Petersham houses were built by Berkeley Homes, which signed up Sir Terry as the result of a competition.

"We like to use architects for two main reasons," explains Peter Nesbitt, managing director of Berkeley Homes, London. "One is to produce high-quality designs - and a recognised architect's name can certainly help in gaining planning permission. The other reason is that big names attract buyers who are prepared to pay for good design. …

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