Hexenhaus A Review

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


There are two drawings for me that are significant in understanding the work of the Smithsons. Both are of Upper Lawn [1]. One is a drawing made by Peter Smithson of their Solar Pavilion in elevation, the other by Alison Smithson in plan. The first drawing places the pavilion against the elevated horizon of the garden wall, with its great perched hedge bird and ceremonial flagpole. The building is seen adrift on the gentle waves and ridges of the garden. The elevational screen of the building is read in relation to the three tall trees, edging Macbeth-like towards it, while in opposite polarity, and in section, a well reaches down, deep into geological time. The plan by Alison Smithson, called ‘building and garden as one assembly’ is a beautiful patchwork of textures, paths and surfaces, a map of magical places, into which the pavilion is woven to form a constellation of things. Part of the importance of this second drawing is in knowing that the hand that drew it is also the same hand that has selected, composed and laid the setts and stones (with their geological traces of the old house) into patterns, and tended and shaped the garden. The trees in the second drawing can now be seen as markers of time. Shifted from elevation into plan, their concentric, clock-like rings are drawn into playful associations with all the other patterns and surfaces of the drawing.
Original languageEnglish
TypeReview of the Publication on the built work of Alison and Peter Smithson for Axel Bruchhauser's Hexenhouse published by Verlag
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 27 Jun 2022


  • Hexenhaus Peter and Alison Smithson


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