Yesterday, I walked around in the drizzle with friend and local architect Brandon Pass at his latest project under construction — way, way out in Leicester — where soft, gentle pastures brush up against steep, rugged hills. It’s been a long year since we last connected and I remembered our past conversation like it was yesterday. I had contacted him after browsing his website and came across the “Leicester House”. There were only a couple of rough renderings at the time, but I was caught the quiet, modern aesthetic that seemed well matched with the rustic context.
Brandon’s clients live out there on 70 acres (and several mules) of beautiful farm land in Sandy Mush. They are charging their land to raise flowers in the dramatic rural landscape. The lower level of the house will be a functional, shed for their flower business and open to the fields below. The upper level will be a modern and flowing living space that captures specific views of both natural and manmade features in the landscape. The house will be anchored by a concrete, passive solar core.
In spirit, both the client and Brandon were struck by the existing, domestic and functional vernacular distinct to this site and locality. It was a jumping off point for the architectural inspiration for both building form and materials.
Once Brandon had locked down the plan and construction drawings the clients and their friends took over creating a natural, organic process where various crafts people and found materials began to further influence and embellish the outcome. Brandon had to generously let go of control and let the hands-on spirit of the clients take over in building their home on the new frontier. The result will be an obvious, modern construction, but with earthy, regionally materials that will weather to blend in with the rural structures of this specific site. It is a marriage of sophisticated design thought blending with the pioneering spirit of our Asheville mountain community. It’s an evolving process that is still being hammered out today.
Thank you for the tour Brandon. Next time — beer!