Our homes had become sophisticated machines, designed to protect us from the environment. They are energy efficient, some of them to the point, that they even produce more energy than they consume. They are designed to cover every function and support any activity we might think of. And they are safe since they are constructed in a way to be able endure all possible conditions – from a pleasant sunny day or a rain, to almost to the point of being able of sustaining a terminal earthquake or a nuclear blast.
It is all a good thing.
Or isn’t it?
Any innovation, ever!, always came out of challenging the dogma.
This is a house of an Australian architect, my mentor and my dear friend Richard Leplastriere. He has a lovely wife and three sons. He is a former sailing Olympian and, regardless of his…
Deerubbin Conference 2016
good architecture and good people all together
The time it took me from my garage at home in Slovenia to the door of my hotel room in Sydney.
Over 150 participans have been welcomed to Australia by Aboriginal elder – uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison.
Almost five years after Glenn Murcutt Masterclass (GMMC) which, for me, proved to be a life changing event, I finally returned to Australia. And it kind of felt like I’d be comin’ home. The occasion, or rather an excuse to go back, was an annual architectural conference Deerubbin 2016 which was to held on a Milson Island about 60 km north of Sydney.
Yet again a trip proved to be well worth it. And to be able to share some of it, here are some of the moments – not in chronological order but rather as it came…
I felt frustrated.
It was a beautiful, sunny, late fall weekend. I decided to used it to catch up with the thousand tasks outside the house, that had been pilling up for quite some time now and had to be done before the arrival of the winter. But while I was chopping the logs, my mind was absent, racing in a high gear through a different world, solving a floor plan of my latest project. I brought a roll of a trace paper to the outdoor table and from time to time, I would put away an axe or some other tool I was using at the moment and grab a pencil to try yet another scheme that formed in my mind.
Whatever I tried made things even worse.
I was in despair.
And morning email from the client, where he told…
As the kids grow, traveling with them becomes more and more fun.
I always find it deeply fulfilling to be able to show them a rich variety of places and cultures. But there is also a big downside to that. Being occupied over hundred percent all the time, one can hardly steal a moment to take a pen and let it the thinking hand do the rest.
And so it was in Florence (Italy) last few days.
Nevertheless I was able to make three quick sketches… not my finest but not that bad either.
Palazzo Vechio was the the first one.
We just come across Ponte Vecchio and took a break at the plateau of Palazzio Pitti. With obscenely expensive ice cream for kids, I bought myself a moment of time to draw it… by memory.
When a doorbell is mounted, one can be pretty sure that a construction is finally coming to an end.
It is a pure joy every time I visit this building site. Although not finished yet, there are so many beautiful details to be seen. I simply had to gather – at least some of them – and to compose them into a photo blog. In a period that the picture changes literarily every hour, it represents a moment frozen in time. God will I miss this building site…
Nara feel at home already.
Beautiful Pinecone lamps never cease to amaze me.
And yet another lamps – this time a global classic Tolomeo – used in an unclassical way over the kitchen…
… or why best architects’ work comes for free?
I am often amazed how much time some people are prepared to invest into a buying process of a 20.000€ car. A car that, eventually, in 5-10 year time they would replace with a new one. While on the other hand, when it comes to build a house, with a price tag of the investment ten times higher at least, a house where they would live their dream life, raise their children and spend – maybe – the rest of their time in, that is not always the case.
When with a client it comes to the point, to discuss the price, I often say that to them my service actually comes for free.
Well not free in a way, you do not pay me money for my work. Yes, it is true, I love… No! … I…
For quite some time now, I have been struggling to find a simple, articulated answer to the question “Why?”
What is my purpose on the field of architecture?
Why I choose to become an architect in the first place?
What is the higher purpose of the efforts I put into my work?
Someone might think it is a simple answer.
But I can assure you – it is not!
And another one might think: “Why even bother?”
Well… at his TED talk (http://bit.ly/1pLqrWF), Simon Sinek provides quite good argument about its importance. An entrepreneurs’ icon Richard Branson in his blogs (http://bit.ly/1oYt9sz) refers to this talk again and again – so there probably must be something of value there. But even aside of that… I strongly feel that every one of us, regardless of one’s profession, should find his or her answer to that in order to serve one as…
“In manufacturing and design, a mockup, or mock-up, is a scale or full-size model of a design or device, used for teaching, demonstration, design evaluation, promotion, and other purposes.”
Dimensions could be very deceiving.
While drawing on the paper, it is sometimes really hard to imagine, how some physical dimensions would appear in the 1:1 scale. It is even harder to envision how some elements would look like in composition with some other. And drawing on a computer, with its infinite zoomins and outs, just makes the situation much worse.
Personal first hand experience is probably the only way to successfully handle this problem in advance.
But even the most prominent and experienced architects, shamelessly extensively use mockups and prototypes in order to avoid ugly (and sometimes costly) mistakes.
Studying the mockup of a (almost) horizontal thick version fixed shades.
Fixed horizontal shade mockup glued from…
Oscar Niemeyer loved it.
Le Courbusier adored it.
Frank Lloyd Wright trusted it with his life.
You have probably guessed by now, that I am talking about the CONCRETE.
When discovered, constructions, that were before unimaginable, suddenly become possible. ‘Artificial stone’ that revolutionized the way we build – and with it, it revolutionized architecture as well.
From the very beginning, its raw aesthetics attracted architects and builders.
And regardless of the facts, that the revolution is long since over, the affection toward concrete’s raw beauty remains very much alive.
For a long time I wanted to implement a raw, visible concrete element into some of my building. Nevertheless what I learned was, that in this case it takes four to tango.
A passionate architect, a suitable project, an aestheticaly enlightened client and a contractor willing and capable of making it happen.
Finally all that fell into place with a project of…
There is a story behind every house.
Something, that is the focal point of the project. Something that gives it its character.
A uniques, if you will.
In case of House D there are four, equally strong points, that served me as a fundamental guidelines thru out the design process.
Emphasizing the amazing vistas.
Not to big, not to small.
Now, with the main volumes basically done, some of those House D features are clearly visible.
From the main access road, House D volume silhouette slowly starts to appear thru the nearby orchard.
Regardless of the proximity of the road, an overhanging living room provides high level of intimacy for the inhabitants.
Main entrance is situated behind the U shaped volumes composition in order for the inhabitants to be able to preserve the privacy on the courtyard.