Exhibition of mid-century immigre architects at the Museum of Sydney…Read More
Tour of Rose Seidler House in Wahroonga by Harry Seidler.Read More
INVISIBLE HOUSE BY PETER STUTCHBURY
Where does the time go? With the busyness of life and the relaunching of this website, this blog post was lost in the shuffle! We had the privilege of staying at the Invisible House at the end of last year. The 2014 House of the Year by Peter Stutchbury Architecture; this house is nestled into a ridge, overlooking the Blue Mountains. It takes the name "Invisible House" from the roof detail: a deep recess acting as a holding tank for water, but also reflecting the trees and sky around it, thereby rendering it "invisible".
The plan was to have a weekend to unwind and relax, but with all the beautiful and thoughtful architectural details, one was kept busy with exploring and photographing! There is a simplicity in the materials, colours and textures referencing back to the surrounding landscape. Formply joinery, raw brass fittings and concrete. Even the purple streak in the Ulan stone from Mudgee, that form the walls throughout, references the tiny native plants that coat the surrounding hillside. The rust red light boxes that sit on the roof are reminiscent of old tin sheds from days gone by. Elsewhere, walls and windows slide to reveal new room functions and change views. Staying here is all about exploring and marveling!
While the house is grand in scale, there are moments where you felt transported back in time. Standing at a simple metal basin, daydreaming out over a valley view through an open metal window, you would be forgiven for thinking you were on a homestead back in the 1800s. I appreciated my visit here, not only for the visual stunning architecture, but how it gave pause for thought as well.
Architecture, sparkling water, coffee... it should not come as a surprise that the Opera Bar is one of my favourite places in the world! The space was given a facelift at the end of last year with Nina Maya Interiors. All the furniture is in honey-coloured wood which creates a cohesive look, lightens the space and doesn't detract from the view. What better spot to unwind with a snack, a chilled drink and soak up that priceless view?!
Looking back at the skyline of Christchurch from a distance is when I realised the true devastation of the earthquakes that shook the ground back in 2010-11. Only two buildings remain as a memorial to the former skyline of the largest city on New Zealand's south island. Like others, I had heard of the devastation of the quakes, but then moved on with life, the stories moved to the back of my mind. Having the privilege of visiting last week, I found myself asking "Wait, what happened again?" Some 10,000 buildings were destroyed over the months that the earth quaked. Four years on, the rebuilding has only just begun. Some buildings crumbled to the ground; others torn in two. Properties in the downtown core are in various stages of tear down; from vacant lots to piles of rubble to buildings with their sides ripped open. You cannot turn a street for roadworks, repairing the miles of pipe below the surface that were also ripped apart.
One building that is making its make on people's consciousness is the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral. Designed by Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban, this building is swiftly turning into a symbol of Christchurch rising from the rubble. With the original Christ Church Cathedral lying in ruin and awaiting a decision on its future, the new church was much needed as a place of refuge in the middle of the chaos. It is designed as a temporary structure to bridge what was with what will be. Only designed to last 50 years, but at 130% of the current earthquake standard; shipping containers line the sides of the building, holding up the roof structure and also creating intimate spaces beyond the large gallery of the cathedral. The cathedral’s nickname is derived from the cardboard tubes, coated in polyurethane and reinforced with laminated timber which holds up the roof structure. The glass windows that form the triangle to the roof at the front of the building incorporate images from the original church. Elsewhere, cardboard tubes form the legs of tables and the cross that hangs front and centre over the altar.
If this new design is anything to go by, Christchurch may just find itself a new identity through sustainable design and architecture.