November 7, 2016

Locally Sourced and Inspired

Sonia Thompson
Inspiration for Splinter Creek lake houses was taken from the agrarian designs of Mississippi.

We want the homes in Splinter Creek to feel, at first light, to have sprouted from the land, rather than built by people with hammers and nails. Because of north Mississippi’s pastoral landscape, we drew inspiration from weathered barns and grain silos. We also looked to Mother Nature, specifically the cypress-filled marshes that spring up on the sides of highways and in the flat expanse of the Delta, appearing haunting on mist-filled mornings.

The designers at Lang Architecture scoured the area for materials that are essentially of this place, settling on cypress, galvanized metal and local stone. The result is homes that blend into rather than contrast with the landscape.

Sketch of the Splinter Creek lake house designed in the traditional Southern dogtrot style.

“I think there has to be a relationship to place with architecture,” Lang architect Grant Scott says. “It’s really about having seen this material in the South.”

The exterior siding of our homes — the horizontal boards and vertical battens — are sourced from area cypress trees. A contrasting wood, possibly fir or cedar, makes up the exposed framing (such as the underside of a porch or roof, tying building elements to the redder wood of the windows), and harmonizes with the cypress. An entryway seat is likely to be constructed from a piece of thick, live-edged local timber.

Locally sourced and inspired materials, such as cypress siding and galvanized metal roofing references traditional building elements of the South.

Galvanized metal – used for the roof and the columns around the balconies, and for support for the screened porch roof – recalls humble farm outbuildings, but with a modern twist. “The galvanized metal is a hint towards local custom and tradition,” Scott says. “It’s clean and simple. There’s nothing fussy. There’s no added decoration. It’s a stripped-down form.”

Another feature that makes our houses feel at home on the land is their relationship to water. Water, although not a building material, plays a key role in how our houses relate to and interact with our lakes. A foundation of concrete piers recalls homes sitting above water. Galvanized metal posts also recall aquatic structures, built to resist a wet environment.

“If something is ‘of a place’ and you see it enough, it gets ingrained in you. There’s a comfort with that when you see it in a new context.” -- Grant Scott, Lang Architecture

- authors/sonia-thompson

This considered use of materials is just one of the ways our houses tap into the subliminal sense of the familiar to those who know and love the South.

“If something is ‘of a place’ and you see it enough, it gets ingrained in you. There’s a comfort with that when you see it in a new context,” Grant says. “There’s an expectation of home.”

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