I don’t know much about architecture but I am an expert at what I like to see. Lately I’ve noticed a specific design element on some Cape Cod homes that grabs my attention and does not let me go until I am smiling. It is the whimsical columns designed by the architecture and construction firm Polhemus Savery DaSilva of Chatham.
I recently had the opportunity to talk about this with the man in charge of the company aesthetic, Design Principal John DaSilva, who humbly insisted that the “mannerist idea of taking the rules of classicism and intentionally breaking them” was nothing new, but I think he was being polite. These things are rad.
Where else do you see the prominent placement, on some of the world’s finest homes, of something that looks like a child’s interpretation of a column that jumped off the paper and onto a house?
And they mess with what you think you know about classicism. They’re what you see in the middle of the night on the front porch of where you live in your dream even though your real house doesn’t even have a porch.
And all those narrow fluted vertical lines? From the street it looks like someone drew them with a Sharpie.
“The front of a house reflects the personality and the preferences of the owner”, DaSilva says. “It projects their point of view to the world”. DaSilva says some clients want nothing to do with classicism, while others embrace the imagination behind this post-modern design element turned nearly inside out.
They’re bulbous like Boulanger, imaginative like Gaudi, light hearted like Gehry but without the lightheadedness. Polhemus Savery DaSilva columns are whatever you wish them to be as long as that wish includes some fun. Isn’t that what time on Cape Cod is all about? Money is serious business. Some of what you can do with the money shouldn’t be.
Several years ago, on a drive through western New York State with my then 14-year old son, we drove past an Indian casino—a hideous misfire of poorly proportioned chaos. My artistic Christian with a sophisticated eye could not unlock his gaze as he searched for words to describe the thing. “It kind of hurts to look at it”. Bingo, no pun intended.
The further from beauty you get, the more it hurts to see it. When you happen upon the pudgy columns of Polhemus Savery DaSilva you also realize that the closer you get to beauty, the better it feels.