Today I attended the second talk in a series prepared by Karen McCartney, guest curator of the Iconic Australian Houses Exhibition at Customs House, Sydney.
The discussion surrounded Living In Iconic Houses, where several panel guests reflected upon their time living in ‘Iconic Australian Homes’. Karen McCartney, currently living in Bruce Rickard’s Marshall House, Dr Bill Lyons, the commissioning client and current owner of Robin Boyd’s Lyons House, Sydney, and Neil Buhrich who grew up in numerous iconic homes designed and built by his late father, Hugh Buhrich.
Below: Marshall House, Bruce Rickard
For McCartney, it seemed as though the building had chosen her, as much as her choosing the house. Self-designated custodian to the house, she has meticulously preserved the dwelling. She has carefully considered the architectural design and complimented it with her own style and personality.
See the kitchen below. McCartney reflected that when small spaces are well and efficiently designed, they can continue to meet one’s needs.
Below: Lyons House, Robin Boyd
Dr Bill Lyons touched on the significance of the architect-client relationship. Something I feel quite passionate about is the importance not only of a good understanding between architect and client, but shared ideals, be they an aesthetic, or a design approach (eg sustainability).
Lyons also praised the design for withstanding his fluctuating life situations: the design enduring changing married, family and single life. Lyons continues to live in the house since he commissioned it in the late 60’s.
Below: Buhrich House, Sydney
Son of Hugh Buhrich, Neil was raised in a house that was under a constant state of construction for most of his time there. He later moved into this house, designed and built by his father for himself and his wife, (Neil’s mother).
Neil Buhrich shared childhood anecdotes of climbing precarious winder stairs, no balustrade, above vast drops below. He showed great pride and affection for the beautiful house, similar to McCartney and the Marshall house, who saw herself as custodian of the dwelling.
In audience discussion time, (led by Fenella Kernebone), proud owners and previous inhabitants of architect-designed homes reflected upon the happiness that their dwelling provided. It was so refreshing to hear non-architects discuss the nourishment that architecture can provide, from formative years as a child, to raising a family in such inspirational spaces.
Houses should not be oversized expressions of one’s wealth and stability. They should be warm, nourishing dwellings that contribute to the inhabitant’s general life.
Functional, efficient, relevant, beautiful and above all inspirational. Architecture in collaboration with its inhabitant.