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Landfall and attached screen walls and terrace

A Grade II* Listed Building in Canford Cliffs, Poole

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.7059 / 50°42'21"N

Longitude: -1.9402 / 1°56'24"W

OS Eastings: 404321

OS Northings: 89590

OS Grid: SZ043895

Mapcode National: GBR 445.N96

Mapcode Global: FRA 67T6.XMC

Entry Name: Landfall and attached screen walls and terrace

Listing Date: 16 January 1981

Last Amended: 22 August 2018

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1267436

English Heritage Legacy ID: 412469

Location: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, BH14

County: Poole

Electoral Ward/Division: Canford Cliffs

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Poole

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Lilliput The Holy Angels

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

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Canford Cliffs

Summary


House. Built in 1936-1938. Designed in the modernist style by the architect Oliver Hill for the film director, Dudley Shaw Ashton. Fitted furniture designed by Betty Joel.

Description

House. Built in 1936-1938. Designed in the modernist style by the architect Oliver Hill for the film director, Dudley Shaw Ashton. Fitted furniture designed by Betty Joel.

MATERIALS: built of brick, that has been rendered, with a bitumen covered roof. The external staircase and the rooftop sunroom is of reinforced concrete. The flooring is of Danish beech wood laid in narrow strips, and the joinery is of red cedar. Crittall windows.

PLAN: two and three-storey detached house with a flat roof and parapet. The house has a long, narrow plan comprising a central hall, with the principal living and bedrooms laid out along the garden (south) elevation. The garage, attached to the north elevation, creates an L-shaped footprint. To the south side of the house is a paved terrace, beneath which is an air raid shelter. Attached to the south-west corner of the house is a curving screen wall which forms a barrier between the driveway and garden and which extends for a short distance along the western road front.

EXTERIOR: the entrance block to the north elevation is curved at its west end and rises to form the rear wall of the rooftop sun room. The timber entrance door with a round, porthole-style window, is above a curved step and to the left are two further round windows; the whole is beneath a canopy that is curved at its west end. Above are a series of round stair windows and a four-light strip window to light the first-floor landing. To either side, the two-storey walls are slightly setback. The block to the right has an eight-light strip window to the ground floor and a four-light strip window to the first floor. The block to the left has a porthole window to the first floor and extending northwards from the ground floor is the garage with a folding and sliding timber door.

The east elevation of the house has a three-light, cedar framed window to the ground floor with a sliding central pane; to the first floor is a five-light cross window.

The south (garden) elevation comprises a block to the left with a five-light cross window and two circular windows to the ground floor and an eight-light cross window to the first floor; to the centre and right is a deeply recessed section that forms the long loggia on the ground floor with the balcony above, with full-height slender steel columns to each floor. The roof is extended out to the same projection as the balcony, providing cover, and the balcony and roof terrace both have tubular steel railings. The external walls of the ground floor hall and living room are fully-glazed, with full-height, cedar-framed, sliding doors. The principal bedrooms to the first floor have doors with horizontal glazing bars onto the continuous balcony, which connects to the ground floor terrace via a flying, curved staircase, with curved steel rails. The rooftop sunroom has a curved south wall with three, full-height panes of plate glass and a metal framed door with horizontal glazing bars. The formerly paved roof terrace has been covered with bitumen.

The west elevation has a set-forward entrance, and a four-light cross window to the right. To the left, extending to the west, is a two room, single-storey, ancillary block housing the WC and former coal store. To the first floor are a four-light and three-light cross window.

INTERIOR: the small entrance lobby gives access to the downstairs lavatory, a projection room and the circular hall. The inner face of the door to the lavatory is grafittied with the autographs of many figures of the mid-C20 arts and society. The projection room has two circular holes for the camera projectors that enabled films to be shown in the hall. The hall has the appearance of being circular due to the curvature of the outer wall and the staircase, and the curved suspended ceiling soffit that extends around two sides of the hall; that to the south housing the projector screen. Double doors lead into the dining room to the west, and on the opposite side of the hall folding and sliding doors, offset to the garden side, lead to the living room. The south wall of the hall and living room is fully glazed, with sliding doors running on tracks allowing the doors to be pushed back one behind the other. The radiators are retained in front of the fixed panes of glass. There are low, curved, bookcase fittings by Betty Joel along the north wall of the living room, to either side of a stone fireplace (a later replacement), and on the west wall is a combined radiogram and drinks cabinet. A single door from the west side of the hall leads to the refitted pantry (also accessible from the dining room) and the modernised kitchen, that retains the box for the electric bell system. To the north side is the former maid’s sitting room; the fitted furniture is not original.

The curved staircase leads to the first-floor landing, and the internal north wall of the principal bedroom and en-suite bathroom is curved. There are two fitted cupboards to the landing and some of the bedrooms have fitted cupboards, washbasins, and fitted beds with drawers beneath. The bathrooms have been modernised. The en-suite bathroom to the principal bedroom has been reconfigured and an archway has been created between it and the former bedroom to the west. The north doors to the en-suite bathroom and former bedroom are retained to the landing, but are blocked internally with plasterboard. An open staircase leads up to the rooftop sunroom. Throughout are plain cedar doors with original metal door furniture; the door handles to the ground floor coloured green, those to the first floor are coloured blue.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the curving screen wall at the west end of the house is in two sections and forms a barrier between the driveway and the garden. To the garden elevation of the house is a paved terrace that curves around the external staircase; there are steps to the garden at the west end. Beneath the terrace is an air raid shelter. These structures contribute to the special interest of the principal building and are included within the listing.


History

Landfall, built in 1936-1938, is a modernist house designed by the architect Oliver Hill for Dudley Shaw Ashton, an amateur filmmaker and later, a professional director. Ashton, a keen enthusiast for modernist architecture, had a clear vision for his new home, and, after approaching Erich Mendelsohn, who could not guarantee the cost of the project, and Berthold Lubetkin, who would not alter his design once it had been made, appointed Oliver Hill as the architect best able to realise his ideas.

Oliver Hill’s (1887-1968) versatility as an architect, working in a variety of styles including Arts and Crafts, neo-Georgian and modernism, and his belief in the importance of a creative relationship between the architect and the client, led to him becoming one of the leading architects of the 1920s and 30s. He began his career, on the advice of Edwin Lutyens, by working in a builders’ yard for eighteen months, gaining a great appreciation and understanding of materials. In 1907, he became a pupil of the architect, William Flockart, whilst also attending evening classes at the Architectural Association. In 1910 he set up his own practice, and, initially working for friends and family, he gained a reputation as a designer of private houses. The Stockholm Exhibition of 1930 and its ideas of functionalism and the role of architecture in the pursuit of a healthy and joyful lifestyle, was a great influence in Hill’s work, and it was during the 1930s that he produced a number of modernist designs for private and public buildings.

Landfall was built for Ashton’s young family and its design, the result of a genuinely creative relationship between Hill and his client, reflects both Ashton’s familial arrangements and his love of film - the plan incorporates Ashton’s request for a circular room inspired by his favourite scene from the film Evergreen. Situated on a plateau that falls away to the south, Hill located the house to the northern extent of the site, close to the road, optimising the size of the garden and retaining the tall pine trees through which there are views of Poole Harbour. The mildness of the local climate and the shelter from the wind afforded by the trees allowed Hill to demonstrate his flair for extending a building into the garden and creating a responsive relationship between the house, garden and wider landscape, with the external staircase forming a prominent feature and enabling the garden to form an additional circulation space between the two floors. The harmony between the indoor and outdoor space was enhanced by Hill’s particular specification of paint colours, choosing earthy colours and tone. The built-in furnishings are by Betty Joel.

On its completion Landfall was well-regarded receiving favourable write-ups in The Architectural Review, County Life and Ideal Home and Gardening. Additionally, Ashton won an award for a short film he made showing the building of Landfall, which received a week’s screening at the Film House on Wardour Street in London.

Ashton, a socialite, led a glamorous lifestyle and this is recorded on the inner face of the door to the downstairs lavatory that is scrawled with the autographs of famous figures from the arts and society, including Henry Moore, Rosalind Wade and Anthony Asquith.

Reasons for Listing

Landfall and attached screen walls and terrace, designed by architect Oliver Hill for Dudley Shaw Ashton and built in 1936-1938, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* a modern house designed by Oliver Hill, one of the leading architects of the 1920s and 30s;
* its distinctive plan form with rooms arranged around a pseudo-circular hall, providing an ingenious solution to his client’s request for a circular room inspired by a scene from his favourite film;
* the subtlety of its planning, with good attention to massing and scale, and incorporating Hill’s characteristic curved lines combine to create a wholly original design;
* the high level of survival including the plan form, the elevations, the fitments by the furniture designer Betty Joel, and the particular quality of the joinery;
* the responsive relationship between the house and the garden, which forms an additional circulation space, and its relationship with the wider landscape in terms of its views of Poole Harbour through pine trees.

Historic interest:

* as the home of film director Dudley Shaw Ashton and its illustration of his collaborative relationship with Hill on the design of the house to reflect his familial arrangements and his lifestyle as a film maker and socialite;
* the autographs of many of the leading figures of mid-C20 arts and society scrawled on the downstairs lavatory door provide an interesting social record of the period and the lifestyle that was led by Ashton at Landfall.

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