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Studio: international art — 31.1904

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Week-End Cottages


The number of competitors in this competition
has been exceptionally large, a point of interest for
several reasons. Not the least of these is the fact
that the anxiety to work out this particular design
shows that one of the lessons The Studio has
been consistent in advocating has gone home to a
large body of its readers. It is plain, not only from
the long list of the competitors who have approached
a solution of the problem, but also from what is —
broadly speaking—the excellent average of their
work, that we have not laid down in vain the
axiom that an artistic success may be reached,
perhaps more easily, by the way of simplicity and
restraint than by elaboration. Many of the draw-
ings submitted bear witness to this ; and, indeed,
it is not going too far to say that unquestionably
the best of the designs owe their chief merit
to the fact that the competitor has allowed his
design of plan to shape itself naturally and simply
into his design for exterior effect, and that the
result, therefore, speaks a quiet naturalness.

The conditions laid down in the announcement
of the competition were few and simple ; and as
regards the requirements asked for, have, on the
whole, been well adhered to. But the great stum-
bling-block to most of the competitors has been
the clause bearing upon the cost. Few of them,
in fact, have laid to heart the injunction, " The
cost must not exceed ^500," and many are the
designs which would take at least twice this sum to
carry out in any part of England. To mention
4d. or ifed. per cube foot (as some have done) as
being a fair and probable price for a half-timbered
cottage, with ingle-nooks and other luxuries, and to
expect to see your building erected in such a way
as to satisfy the client who could afford to indulge
himself with a week-end cottage, shows a far too
sanguine and hopeful disposition. Building in the
Home Counties, and, indeed, so near any large city
as a week-end cottage must needs be, has steadily
increased in cost year by year, and the 6d. per cube
foot of some years ago has now grown to at least
l^d. True, in Devon or Cornwall, or elsewhere
where it is occasionally possible to "win," at a
shallow depth, from one's own site, the stone for
building, the price per foot may be brought down

* A number of other designs for cottages submitted for this competi-
tion will be illustrated in the next number of The Studio. The names
of the Prizewinners will be found in the present number under the
heading " Awards in The Studio Prize Competitions."

to some such figure as 4^. or \\d., but favourable
and exceptional opportunities of this kind are not
fairly to be reckoned upon in such cases as the
present. The circumstances under which the sup-
posititious cottage would be built would naturally
be those of an average and usual nature. Of the
163 designs submitted but a small percentage of
the competitors could hope to see their ideas
carried out, as buildings, within the limit set; and,
as a matter of fact, those plans which did comply
with this condition have not, for reasons uncon-
nected with cost, been adjudged worthy of being
prize-winners. So universal is the failure to observe
the money condition that we have been obliged,
perforce, to modify our standard in this respect,
and to consider the plans, not from the point of
view of strict adherence to the amount laid down,
but rather from that of the various approximations
to this sum attained by the different competitors.

Further, while on the question of cost, it is im-
possible to avoid expressing regret that more than
one statement placed on the drawing, and profes-
sing to give the number of cubic feet contained in
the building has proved, after fair and, indeed, con-
siderate checking, to be fallacious, and decidedly
under the mark. In saying this, we have not in
our minds such evident clerical errors as that, for
instance, of Hoffnung, page 324, whose 116,718
cubic feet should certainly not be more than 20,300,
and who makes his cost at yd. per foot only
amount to 6.f. 6d. more than at id. ! But, apart
from such an unfortunate slip as this (which, by
the way, stands alone in telling against the com-
petitor), we feel that we have a right to expect
figures which are not misleading. If it were
not our custom to go with close care and
exactitude into the assessment of our various
competitions errors of this kind would have
given those responsible for them an unfair
and improper advantage over the other com-

The object of a week-end cottage is to afford a
simple home, inexpensive in its first cost and in its
up-keep, to which the busy man can run away from
the turmoil of town, and spend as much time as
possible on both sides of "the day that comes
between the Saturday and Monday." It is a
possible arrangement either to lock the place up
during such days as it ,is not thus made use of, or
to have a permanent caretaker acting as servant
when needed. One or two of the competitors —
among them, for instance, Coast—have planned
the building for the latter system, as is suggested
by their provision of a ground-floor bed-room, thus

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