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Competition: The Double Villa, Glasgow

The Alexander Thomson Society has announced an ideas competition for a contemporary tribute to Thomson’s innovative Double Villa (Deadline: 23 December)

Open to architects and students, the anonymous contest seeks proposals for a semi-detached home in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow’s South Side.

The challenge has been launched to mark next year’s bicentennial of the birth of the acclaimed Glasgow architect whose work was famously influenced by Greek, Egyptian and Levantine styles.

Glasgow

Glasgow

The Double Villa

According to the brief: ‘The objective of the competition is to invite designs for a contemporary interpretation of Thomson’s “Double Villa”, otherwise known as the Villa Maria.

‘Accommodation should be equivalent to that of the semi-detached pair of the original design, and comprise arrangements for sleeping, eating, dining, washing and relaxing which reflect upon a 21st-century lifestyle.’

Thomson was born in 1817 and completed an impressive range of villas, terraces, tenements, warehouses and churches during a short career before his death at the age of 57.

His buildings – many of which survive today – achieved international recognition during the 1950s due to their perceived influence on Frank Lloyd Wright. The Alexander Thomson Society was founded by architectural journalist Gavin Stamp 25 years ago to preserve and promote the architect’s work.

Glasgow

Glasgow

The competition site

The Double Villa was constructed in 1857 on a narrow plateau next to Mansionhouse Road in the outlying suburb of Langside. T he sandstone structure features two identical semi-detached houses rotated to appear as one single building. It is thought to represent Thomson’s mature style and is one of his most ingenious designs.

The competition seeks proposals for a triangular site at the junction of Nithsdale Road and Darnley Road close to Thomson’s Moray Place, Lorne Terrace and Nithsdale Road Tenement. 

Digital submissions should include up to three A2-sized display boards with architectural models also encouraged. Applications will be judged on their design, detail, conceptual understanding on the Double Village and overall quality.

Judges include Alexander Thomson Society chair Mark Baines, Glasgow Institute of Architects president Tim Gray and local architect John Gerrard.

The overall winner is set to be announced on 24 February and will receive a £500 prize. There will also be two commendations worth £100 each.

Selected entries will also feature in a special bicentennial exhibition inside The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture next April.

How to apply

Deadline

The registration deadline is 23 December and submissions must be completed 27 January.

Contact details

The Alexander Thomson Society
7 Walmer Crescent
Glasgow
G51 1AT

Email: info@alexanderthomsonsociety.org.uk

Visit the competition website for more information

Cedar Lodges case study: Q&A with Adam Knibb

The director of Adam Knibb Architects discusses lessons learned designing a pair of houses in Winchester, England

How did your Cedar Lodges project deliver two mirror-image homes as single architectural composition?

Any successful project begins with both a clear understanding of the client’s desire and the site’s surrounding context. The brief was to replace an existing garage with a pair of semi-detached contemporary timber and zinc-clad houses in Winchester, Hampshire. The spatial allocation of functions determined the architecture’s composition, using the site’s south-facing aspect to accommodate amenity spaces, while sheltered parking is provided below. Mirroring these elements defined these two houses as a single unified piece of architecture, but also ensured that their individual functionality wasn’t compromised.

Winchester, England

Winchester, England

Source: Image by Martin Gardner

Cedar Lodges by Adam Knibb Architects

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness?

The individual house design, which takes its initial form from local urban houses, is a simple rectangle with a pitched roof. The form’s simplicity allowed for the mirrored language of the scheme to be read clearly once the two masses were put alongside each other, enhancing the overall composition. Provision of natural light was a key feature in the design process. Glazing to the south was carefully considered to help prevent overheating and maintain privacy. The design shows a single window to the lounge area and a glazed apex to the first floor, allowing light to the bedrooms but simultaneously preventing overlooking. Controlled views have been accounted for to ensure privacy for both the neighbours and occupants. Vertical timber cladding has been used to provide a soft and sympathetic visual element to the building.

Winchester, England

Winchester, England

Source: Image by Martin Gardner

Cedar Lodges by Adam Knibb Architects

What advice do you have to participants seeking to design a pair of houses inspired by Thomson’s Double Villa?

The site and programmatic requirements of a scheme will determine the nature of a pair of twin houses. Using such information encourages experimentation with orientation, views and materials, which in turn makes the act of mirroring buildings much richer in meaning. The intentions of the project can be depicted in different ways; our honest approach created two distinct homes which are enhanced by shared mirrored elements, while Thomson’s Double Villa used a tactic of deception, making two homes appear as a grand singular dwelling from both front and back. A project’s contextual parameters determine what the act of mirroring is aiming to achieve.

Winchester, England

Winchester, England

Source: Image by Martin Gardner

Cedar Lodges by Adam Knibb Architects