Australian Architects McBride Charles Ryan like to push the creative enveloppe on each project they design. This house called Letterbox is no exception, flirting with the senses in more ways then one....
The client's brief was traditional in scope but vast in volume. Getting desirable sized outdoor spaces and good building orientation on a difficult triangular site was always going to be tricky.
The idea was to treat the whole ground plane as a garden. This led to a re-exploration of the glass house typology - but with serious modifications. First, the architect had to contort the glazed box and then split the central core.
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Next he decided to pull up and down the building fascia to exclude or include views and sunlight. Like a mesh the ceiling followed by bending and arching, generating beautiful cave like spaces on the ground floor.
Unlike the single person archetype this is a family home and a first floor bedroom zone was required. The idea was then to invert the ground floor; its conceptual opposite the courtyard house became the first floor.
Not only was the dialogue between the two types of house experientially satisfying, it overcame the onerous planning restrictions of neighborhood overlooking and allowed natural light into the central core of the ground floor via skylights in the courtyard. When viewed from the private open space the building perches over the ground plane like a granite monolith - from the street it acknowledges the large Toorak house imagery and typology but with just a menace of a Nolan painting. All Photographs by John Gollings, and courtesy of McBride Charles Ryan