[Mar 31, 2015] TEISMANN AND VEGA DESIGN COTTAGE INSPIRED BY WB YEATS POEM
We explored the Lake Isle of Innisfree in Ireland the early part of this year through the design of a small cottage. Taking inspiration from the poem by WB Yeats, the project is titled The Binds of Innisfree. Charlie wrote a brief narrative of the project so as to tell the story of the place.
"The first time I came across the tower, it was as if something had brought me there against my will. A sleep walk of sorts, though in someone else’s dream. It was barely above the ground, piercing into the slurry of the shore. Perhaps it was sinking. But it felt much more like a slow motion stabbing seemingly meant to keep the island in place… or in time. It was a building of sorts.
Though I had just met it, I felt a need to keep it aloft… to keep IT in place. I don’t understand what drove this within me. I had encountered a place and saw its movement. Its continuance was now under my control by my very viewing it. I could let it slide into the earth, but the guilt of allowing this would follow me. I could sit and hold it, root it. Though with my participation, I felt sad for it. It was like a beautiful shell working its way to the warmth of a beach over countless years, only to find that in its moment of triumph, its beauty is its downfall. Catching the eye of a passer by, it is cast back hundreds of years along its path. I needed to protect the tower.
I noticed holes in the face of the tower: windows or doors. I guess they were neither, but depending on use. What is the difference, really?
I found myself holding tight to what must have been the lintel above one of the openings. It was cold yet glowing in the moonlight. The sounds of the tower were overwhelming, not in decibels, but in the rhythm. The pool became evident. The tower was filled with lively water. The sounds of water dropping back into the pool countered the quiet of the vapor rising. How did I get here? I watched the water attempting to find a hole, someway out through the walls and roof like bees behind glass trying to find their way back outside to the glade where their work calls them. Swatted down, the drops rejoined the mass. The tower, filled lake height was slowly and relentlessly emptying and filling itself. I could see at this moment, beyond the moment to the cosmos of the tower as if I had stepped out of my own story. This moment was like the feeling of convincing storytelling between waking and dreaming. I knew the answer, though it made no sense.
Still at the lintel, I felt the wind pulling me out. It was warmer there, though somehow less comforting. Releasing me to my own weight, I slid down the lintel and fell into the pool. Drop.
Ah, yes. Rooting… I remember, in that moment, myself and the tower, all that water, all that cold, all that sunlight and shadow, we were… the tower, and the glade, the windows, the door, mere carvings by the relentless escape and containment of the water and the vessel. "
The simple construction reinforces the sublime effect of the cottage while reducing construction time and cost. The walls are a single pour of concrete over two types of formwork: the exterior is boardform while the interior is made from the foliage of Innisfree. The cottage is poured as a monolith with no openings. It is approximately 13 meters tall, but only 5 meters are exposed above ground- with an underground water supply connection directly to the lake. The water is encouraged to move freely between the lake and the cottage - ebbing and flowing slowly together as a single entity with time. The apertures - windows and doors - are saw-cut into the walls once the formwork has been removed. This approach reduces costs while allowing precise visual appropriation with the site. The intent is to bring forth a design that seems to be extracted from the site itself.