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Solarpunk: a Sidmouth aesthetic

  • by JW

From the Cottage Orné to architect RW Sampson


In many ways, Sidmouth can be considered ‘Solarpunk’:

Solarpunk in the Sid Valley? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Solarpunk is alive and well in the Sid Valley! – Vision Group for Sidmouth


But to what extent is its architectural ethic to be found in Sidmouth?

The aesthetics of Solarpunk are very much Art Nouveau and Art Deco – which are both forward and backward looking.

Here’s a reference to the founder of Solarpunk:


In her original post in 2014 missolivialouise suggested the aesthetics for the newly created genre could be based in Art Nouveau/Edwardian styles. This is a fantastic idea as there is a lot of natural elements and organic themes in Art Nouveau. To see a movement from the 1890’s-1900’s reinvented with futuristic ideals and technologies, with an emphasis on nature would be amazing. The idea of solarpunk has captured the imagination of many people on Tumblr and beyond. There have been a few publications made (one example here) and many artworks showing what a “Solarpunk” future would look like.

Art Nouveau Style: Solarpunk & Art Nouveau


And Sidmouth has a few fine examples:


This good size three bedroom detached house built in the 1920’s has a number of attractive period features, in particular Art Deco and Art Nouveau fireplaces.

Harcombe Lane – OnTheMarket


Scott Cinemas

Cinema Picture Palace in Sidmouth, GB – Cinema Treasures


The style used by the Sid Valley’s pre-eminent architect is very much connected to the Arts and Crafts Movement – with Sampson’s fine houses lining Bickwell Valley (pictured)

Home – The Sampson Society

R. W. Sampson – Wikipedia

Windmill House, Hillside Road


Sidmouth also has the odd modernist piece:

On the market: Stan Bolt-designed modernist property in Sidmouth, Devon


But it is the ‘vegetal’ forms of the Cottage Orné which are very Sidmouth:

“A rustic building of picturesque design.”

Cottage orné – Wikipedia

With several wonderful examples of this design here:

sidmouth “cottage orne” – Google Suche


photo: Bickwell Valley, Sidmouth: google maps