architect: Glenn Murcutt
location: Mount Wilson, New South Wales
No other house by Glenn Murcutt is so profoundly the result of a close and inspiring dialogue with the customer as this. During the six years it took to develop the project, through numerous communications in the form of telephone calls, letters and meetings, a difficult and tiring work with the customer was done, essentially in order to make an attentive valuation of, and a profound reflection on, the principles which were to characterize the completed building. The final result reflects the intensity and efforts dedicated during the long elaboration of the project, which has resulted in a holiday home built on a modest budget which synthesizes, at the same time, the meaning of living, aesthetics and building, and which represents a turning point in Glenn Murcutt’s architecture. The house is one of his most complete works, where one may observe the application of the concept of shelter and the use of perspective as a means of controlling the space, the two fundamental paradigms of Murcutt’s architecture, which can be found in all the works from his mature years, but also a profound relationship with the site, geometry as generator of the plan, the construction of a path in the landscape and an attentive use of technology. Many of the initial sketches feature elements of the landscape which have deeply influenced the design, as rocks and trees. The house is not facing north, but is partially aligned with a contour line and is thus placed between a rocky front, from which the mountain slope becomes much steeper, and a series of masses located twenty metres before the precipice to the east. Even if developed last, as the solution dated 1992 testifies, that of the creation of a path through the house which provides access to the valley is a fundamental aspect. What used to be an ancient Aborigine path before the house was built has now become a Peripatetic process through the site. By merging with the architecture, it is reinforced and takes on a new meaning, as manifestation of both the idea of door and that of shelter.