Landmarks: Turn End

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The Independent Culture
The building I'm interested in is a private house in Haddenham in Buckinghamshire called Turn End and it's one of a group of three houses built in 1967 by the architect Peter Aldington for himself. It looks rather like a square 'C' with the open part facing into a small watergarden. At the back of the building there is an enormous garden and it was this that gave me my first introduction to the house as it is open regularly as part of the National Garden Scheme. Situated in a small village, the houses are built of local materials, nestling in the quiet streets.

The outside of the building is very understated. It's not a grand architectural gesture but for me is a marker of the way a new building can sit comfortably with old buildings and nature. Made of rough plasterwork, painted white with limewash, Aldington has used modern materials in a traditional way. With its red tiled pitched roof, it is domestic in scale and is very undemanding for a modern building.

There is also a lovely central courtyard and every room of any significance has a view into a tiny Japanese-style watergarden which is dealt with very much as part and parcel of the interior.

The garden also has a wonderful relationship with the house, the two merge with each other and somehow the building sits incredibly happily in its environment. I think it was part of the architects original intention that one shouldn't be just dotting individual houses along streets and hoping that they work in their own right. Here are three modern buildings conceived as part of a group that flow through as part of the streetscape of the village.

John Haworth is a director with Powell Moya Partnership, Chelsea, London SW3.

(Photograph omitted)

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