Is the best architecture designed for an individual or the market?
It's fairly rare, these days, to design a home which is utterly centred around the
personality of the owner in an absolutely purist style.
Because most people who build a home for themselves
have one eye on their own needs and another on the wants of the wider market,
should they want to sell it at any time.
So this home, built a couple of years ago for a person with a very distinct brief,
but which is now on the market,
makes a really interesting case study for very individual house design.
Before we even look at materials and finishes,
the most obvious difference about this house is the floor plan.
The car (which in this case is a classic Porsche 356) is given centre stage,
with the garage literally in the middle of the floor plan.
Behind it is a modest studio kitchen;
to one side an open plan living and dining space
and to the other side a bedroom, adjoining study and bathroom.
The layout is more like that of an apartment
than that of a house,
but then most apartments don't have a garage
in the centre.
You can see there are no doors either,
which was also in the unusual brief to the architect,
Damian Campagnaro from DC Architecture.
With one occupant, privacy is obviously not an issue,
and the various angles achieve a certain sense of cosiness
The house is built on a very steep block,
overlooking the city below it,
and sits on a sculptural arrangement of splayed steel columns.
Exterior defines interior space….as the curved ends of the facade
follow through to form curved walls in the bathroom and living rooms.
The kitchen is located in the galley walkway between the two
wings, and the mirrored splash back reflects the lights of the city below.
(That white filagree box, in case you are wondering,
houses the air conditioning unit and ducting.)
Floors are white epoxy throughout the living spaces.
The "front door" is the garage door…white of course, in such a purist house.
I do wonder if the new owner will keep it just as it is,
or if they will alter the front entrance to include a pedestrian door,
and convert the garage into a room.
(Perhaps that will depend on whether they also have a
fabulous vintage car to adore and celebrate.)
Many of the most wonderful homes built in earlier times
have unique beauty which only occurred because the personality of the owners
was allowed to be worked into the design.
(Take Versailles….a reflection of Louis XIV's gregarious personality,
or Falling Water, designed to be a place of quiet contemplation.)
With so much ubiquitous housing now going up around the world,
always with a focus on quick market sales and mass appeal,
I do wonder what we will choose to adore in later decades….
and it's hard to believe it will be the McMansion or the Faux Provence Maison.
It's more likely that the treasures of tomorrow will be the ones
that are perhaps a little harder to market now,
because of their very unique response to individual briefs.
It's fascinating food for thought.
Over to you….