'Touch the earth lightly'...
The above is an Aboriginal phrase used as a design credo by auteur Aussie architect Glenn Murcutt, and one can see the direct translation from principle to built form in his entire body of work.
This house combines a sensitivity to local culture and heritage with a rigorous approach to energy-efficient design. This is a building which responds to its site and micro/macro-climate in a tangible, formal way, but not at the cost of visual appeal - in fact this is not a question of sacrifice, but more the generation of form through function.
The house was commissioned by an Aboriginal artist, and built in Aussie's hot and windy Northern Territory. Murcutt overcame the challenges presented by the local climate by creating a system of slatted panels on the long facades of the house, which could be opened and shut according to the internal temperatures, with fins located along the length of the house to channel breeze through the structure and keep the air moving.
The materials employed are simple and robust, as the extreme conditions demand, and are used in an un-fussy, pragmatic way that lends a sparsity and honesty to the clean lines of the house.
Murcutt takes a challenging environment, and rather than embedding an alien machine within it, complete with it's own life-support system (by way of air-conditioning and ventilation plant) he creates a responsive, organic shelter that lives and breathes with its owner, fluidly changing to suit the needs of the occupant, floating above the landscape to which it relates.
It is now fashionable across the board for architects to worm in as much 'energy-efficiency' double-talk as possible in client presentations, as people are demanding more and more in that respect, but it's easy to convince someone with no specialist knowledge that you are giving them 'low-energy' design features if you know which buttons to push. Murcutt's masterful response to challenging conditions shows exactly what is possible if one works with the conditions.
Here's the 'Not PC: Architecture V Architecture' series so far:
- Architecture v Architecture: What's up?
- 4. Architecture v Architecture: 'Price Tower,' by Frank Lloyd Wright - PC
- 3. Architect v Architect: 'Fallingwater' by Frank Lloyd Wright - Den MT
- 2. Architect v Architect: 'Bavinger House,' by Bruce Goff - PC
- What architecture means ...- cartoon
- 1. Rail Switchtower, Basel, Switzerland: Herzog + de Meuron - Den MT
- Architecture v Architecture: Introduction
- Art: there's more to it than just meets the eye.
- 'The Scream ' has been found. Two cheers.
- Are there objective standards in art?
- 'Maturity' - Camille Claudel
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