Fencing Inspiration: Japanese Design by Architect Bill White

Fencing Inspiration: Japanese Design by Architect Bill White

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Maxwell Ryan
Jul 27, 2009

Here's some inspiration for those of you who have the opportunity to think about building fences. I daydream about this kind of thing....

This past weekend we were invited to a friend's house for dinner out in Bridgehampton, NY. The home was a beautiful, small modern shingled affair surrounded by lots of lush plantings - all with a slight Japanese influence. The architect was William F. White, who has since passed away. What most drew my attention, however, was the fence around the pool. Designed by White and my friend's father, it grew out of a sketch on a napkin many years ago and turned into a really simple, stunning design.

The basic design is inspired by creating a very light structure by turning the slats of the fence perpendicular to the horizontal support. This creates a "knife edge" look to the fencing, which is also cut to different heights so that an irregular profile (like grass) is seen.

There is also a huge circular shape that surrounds the doorway and various Japanese inspired supports that go a long way towards making this less of a pool fence and more a part of the architecture.

Finally, all of this is done in cedar, so that no painting or staining is required and the color gradually turns to silver grey, like the color of the shingles on the house. As far as really attractive fences go, this is now on my shortlist. Enjoy!

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