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the bridge house.

The Bridge House was another of the homes designed by modernist architect and writer Robin Boyd (see previous post, here), and it has just been extensively renovated. It is a little difficult to see what remains of the original home, designed in 1953, but the renovation is progressive and contemporary, rather than simply a pastiche. It is interesting to compare this home with the Walsh Street one, which remains unchanged since the ’50s.

The house’s unusual shape is a masterclass in designing according to context: two elliptical steel trusses straddle an old river bed, easement and dramatically sloping site. The resulting longitudinal window walls create a wedge-shaped plan and maximise internal views of the site’s established trees. A timber and steel bridge connect street level to the mid level entry point of the house.

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The interior is luxe and rich – floors are pale oak and travertine, a circular, ridged oak insertion holds a wine cellar. Walls are kept white, offsetting the black highlights and black metal windows that so beautifully frame the outdoor green.

Which do you prefer? I’d happily settle for either.

Bridge House, via. Photographs: Lisa Cohen

Walshst-exterior

lessons in modernism.

If I could be anywhere this coming week it would be Palm Springs for Modernism week and the Palm Springs Art Fair. Palm Springs is of course a modernism enthusiasts’ delight, with its plentiful single and split level homes, all shifting planes and open plan layouts, with big glass sections and cantilevered floors.

Instead, I’m rediscovering the work of one of my favourite proponents of the style, the Melbourne architect and writer Robin Boyd. His work and in particular his writing were hugely influential on me growing up in the suburbs of Melbourne. His two key tomes – Australia’s Home and The Australian Ugliness – defined for me everything that was wrong with suburban living.

One of his best known works is Walsh Street house designed by Boyd for his family in 1957. It now houses the Robin Boyd Foundation and remains in its original condition.

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Furnished with pieces designed by Boyd’s contemporaries – Grant Featherston and Clement Meadmore (whom I once met, and visited his home in NY) amongst others – it demonstrates the design principles championed in his books, utilising an introspective layout, with the main house and a separate children’s pavilion facing inwards toward a central courtyard. (This was in direct contrast to the usual model of building a suburban house in the middle of the block).

The finishes are bold and intense – deep, saturated colours and dark-painted brickwork walls; rich red woodwork, glimmering mosaic and even copper (how very contemporary..). Floor-to-ceiling plate glass, soaring ceilings and clerestory windows ensure light and nature are ever present.

An (almost) fitting substitute for a trip to Palm Springs…

Walsh Street House via Photographs, Eve Wilson

happy weekend.

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Fabulous abstract, graphic, black and white forms by Emil Kozak, in a new exhibition within Box in Denmark.

LYNfabrikken, Vestergade 49, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark, until February 15 2015. More, here.

today’s image.

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building site, shoreditch.
image: owl’s house london on instagram using iPhone 5. Follow me, here

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house of simple ambiguity.

The first thing that struck me about this building was the beautifully proportioned front facade (read my take on composition, here); next, the stratified brickwork – thin linear strips graduating to larger brick sections as the eye travels up the building.

Located in an historical centre but lacking any character of its own, this house also faces the challenge of its narrowness, a 6.5m width. To resolve the problem of getting light in, a series of outdoor spaces create a transition between the rooms, thus becoming rooms themselves. Privacy, solar gain, ventilation and light are all addressed and resolved in one fell swoop. The sequence of spaces also creates a lovely ambiguity about what is an interior and what is an exterior space.

Because the colour and rhythm of the exterior masonry is visible from within, the interior walls are painted white, with just the window reveals left raw. There are simple, pale wood floorboards and an exposed (but beautifully detailed) metal ceiling. Sometimes, the materials are reversed, and the ceiling or walls are lined with wood. The zig zag line of the stair soffit plays against the pattern of the metal ribbed ceiling as it rises up, as well as the rhythm of the wood planks.

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A kid’s room contains a single piece of furniture serving all necessary functions – sleeping, reading and storage.

Perfectly proportioned on the outside, simply and beautifully detailed within.

House 1014 by H Arquitectes, via Photographs: Adrià Goula

memphis-styled sound.

I love these images for Bang + Olufsen’s latest range, featuring the work of photographer Phillip Karlberg (it’s worth a look at his portfolio, with stunning photographs for Kasthall, amongst others). The products, all angular shapes and luxe materials – brushed aluminium, oak and black, are styled against a palette of white marble, blush pink, vibrant blue and pale silver.

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There are distinct references to the Memphis movement, which is having a moment in interior and product design, but without the flamboyance. A sort of minimal, refined post-modernism. I think its a great look, what about you?

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a danish shelter in black.

We all seem to respond to the idea of living more simply and in closer proximity to nature. Like the cabins I wrote about in the NZ wilderness (here), these shelters offer a pared-back environment, but very little, if anything, is compromised.

Vipp Shelter is a 55m2 cabin comprising living, bathing and eating areas, and sleeping for 4. They are prefabricated in Denmark and brought to site – anywhere in the world you happen to own a piece of wilderness – where they are erected in a few days. The facade is sheet metal, fully insulated and painted black. And everything is included. There is a complete kitchen, in matt black, with Vipp fittings and all cutlery, kitchen utensils and plates. A fully functioning bathroom, with towels. The sleeping loft has an integrated bed with bedding. All lighting is included. A functioning fireplace, floor heating.

The interior aesthetic is contemporary Danish; like a Vipp bin the vibe is modern – not minimal, but clean and industrial. But unlike a Vipp bin, there is no choice of colour. As Henry Ford said, you can have any colour so long as it’s black.

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More about Vipp Shelter, here. Photographs, via