Sophie Tarbuck

High Cross House, Dartington, Devon. Designed by William Lescaze in 1932



Component Drawings are a part of ‘Building Blocks’, a set of new work commissioned especially for High Cross House, Dartington, Devon.


In the summer of 1925 Leonard and Dorothy Elmhurst, in pursuit of an ideal purchased the remains of the ancient estate of Dartington in Devon. This consisted of two farms, woodlands and the buildings and grounds of a medieval Hall.

As part of this ideal they founded a co-educational boarding school, which under the direction of W.B.Curry, gained international reputation and notoriety as centre for 'free' education.


W B Curry persuaded Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst to scrap the existing plans they had for the headmaster's house and instead employ William Lescaze, a Swiss-born American architect, and one of the pioneers of modernism in American architecture. It was his view that a progressive school should have a progressive architect, and the Elmhirst's agreed. High Cross Hill House was the first of the International Modern Style buildings to be built at Dartington.


The work in these two rooms at High Cross House not only references the buildings space, planes, surface, and volume but also looks at all the components that make up Dartington and a school devoted to scientific rural development and educational experiment. 



In 1932 architect William Lescaze designed a home for William B Curry, the headmaster of Dartington Hall School. This International Style modern house was carefully planned. The house consists of a long rectangular front block interlocked with a taller square block behind and a small lower rectangular block with a curved corner in the rear right-hand angle. 


The plans and photos of the house, combined with the diagrammatic language from Curry's background in studying physics and teaching maths, form the reference points for the three Component Drawings. These in turn are the starting point for the Component Wood Blocks 



 Letratone, letrafilm and fablon on black card. 220 x 220 mm

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