• AR142 – Superhouses residential issue

    Guest editor Karen McCartney takes us through AR's residential issue, featuring superhouses by Fearon Hay Architects, Pattersons Associates, Breathe Architecture, Chenchow Little and Vokes and Peters.

  • Inside 88 – The IDEA Shortlist Reveal issue

    The year is quickly drawing to a close, but not before we have the honour and privilege to present the shortlisted projects and objects for the 2015 Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA).

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The following is taken from Karen McCartney’s editor’s letter in AR142 – Superhouses.

Life often takes you on pathways you least expect and the fact that I am writing an introduction to this edition of Architectural Review Asia Pacific is a perfect example.

I have lived, for 15 years, in a 1967 flat-roofed Sydney School house of timber and brick, designed by architect Bruce Rickard, who educated me in architecture by default. A reluctant public speaker, he encouraged his clients to speak on his behalf and this taught me both to think about, and articulate, what I valued about living in one of his houses.

While a magazine editor I turned my hand to book publishing, starting with my own house and researching nationally I produced two books – 50/60/70 Iconic Australian Houses and its counterpart 70/80/90 Iconic Australian Houses.

I met, interviewed and wrote about architects and visited some of the most interesting homes in the country. I found I loved listening to architects’ philosophies, their solutions to challenges, their cunning ways with materials, light, site and landscape. The exhibition, which resulted from the book, ran for three months in 2014 at the Museum of Sydney and is now travelling the country.

This leads me to Superhouse: Architecture and Interiors Beyond the Everyday* – a book title that demands definition, so I developed broad parameters that encompass its sheer potential and breadth of application.

“A super house is one that delivers a 360-degree completeness of form, its exterior and interior have a seamless execution and, above all else, it is awe-inspiring. This quality can be elicited from the perfection of its natural setting, a remarkable use of materials, an exceptional level of craft, groundbreaking innovation or a use of space that lifts the spirit.”

Hence, with this definition, I could enjoy the sheer scope of ‘super’. For example, a Meisian pavilion in Ireland by Scott Tallon Walker is super because, not only does it cantilever dramatically over a river, but also, in a land dominated by low-lying white thick-walled cottages, it is a cultural anomaly. Likewise, Wood Marsh’s Flinders House, an undulating form in the landscape that the architects describe as something ‘unearthed’ from the landscape, as opposed to an addition to it. And so it goes, each project with its own distinctive form of what it means to be ‘super’.

In this residential issue of AR these elastic notions of ‘super’ play out in very different forms and are showcased in a range of exceptional houses and apartments from across Australia and New Zealand.

The line-up features a small space with a powerful presence designed by Pattersons Associates, set on a volcanic peninsula south-east of Christchurch, New Zealand. It immerses its occupants in the beauty of its surrounds, its view and its deep sense of calm and retreat. Also in New Zealand, in the popular beachside suburb of Omaha, Fearon Hay Architects has taken an ingenious approach to the balance of privacy and openness, alongside the alignment of interior and exterior execution. Through a ‘lightbox’ structure of semi-transparent glass and steel the structure turns its back on the holiday enclave, focusing its attention towards the sand dunes and ocean beyond.

From beachside we go to inner-city Melbourne, where Breathe Architecture exercises its signature conceptual bravado with a project called Tinderbox. Working within a poorly conceived renovation, which paid little heed to the historical context of this landmark warehouse, the studio has re-engineered the space through a combination of muscular materials and bursts of incendiary colour. Another architectural solution to apartment living comes from Chenchow Little, with its Darling Point Apartment in Sydney, redefining the art of display and surprise in a contained residential space. Here, the crafted joinery solutions combine with a sense of play – stepping out of the lift you are immersed in the colourful world of artist Esther Stewart, who has created a custom mural for the foyer. Finally, there is a house renovation by Brisbane practice, Vokes and Peters, which has taken on the most difficult task of all – extracting the extraordinary from the ordinary, while delivering on a multilayered client brief, in its Double Courtyard House.

It has been a tremendous experience to work with the team at Architectural Review Asia Pacific to present this take on residential architecture. The selection illustrates something of the diversity of practice, and the ability to rise to all sorts of challenges and continue to make residential spaces that solve problems, provoke thought and inspire.

Karen McCartney – Guest Editor

AR142 is on newsstands now, and available through Zinio.

So the year is quickly drawing to a close, but not before we have the honour and privilege to present the shortlisted projects and objects for the 2015 Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). This bumper issue will delight you with the myriad projects and products designed by the best designers, architects and object makers in the country and what an array there is!

Entries this year exceeded all expectations in quality and quantity proving that 2015 was a sensational one for the built environment. The Residential Single category received the most submissions and proved that indeed our homes are our castles, be they small and carefully curated or large and opulent. As you will see in the following pages, however, all other categories showcase projects that feed our design souls and once again mark our Australian design community as a force to be reckoned with throughout the world.

Along with the IDEA shortlist our regular features are a prolific delight with profiles and exhibitions, discussions and projects that push the design boundaries. We profile Tasmanian born Brodie Neill (p38) and his exquisite products from the Made in Ratio collection, while in Practice we investigate the Latitude Group (p28) and see how it is contributing to the business of design. In Discourse, we speak with David Rockwell (p42) and discover what makes this great designer and architect tick. With smartphones at the ready, we rate the best eight apps available that help make life a little easier for the designer (p51). In Review (p32) looks at the amazing work of Grayson Perry with FAT and in Craft to Completion (p46) The Invisible Store of Happiness is expounded.

The projects in this issue range from a hairdresser’s salon in Canberra called Roji (p54) to Breville, a workplace with style and substance in Sydney (p66). Two houses are featured, one
in Melbourne, Abstract House (p72), a sensitive renovation and addition, and the other in Sydney, House of Dalley Avenue (p60) where European luxury marries a Sydney lifestyle.

With summer around the corner, Insight (p81) investigates refrigeration – where it has come from and where it is going. The journey is a model for best practice and innovative technology.

In all, there is so much to read, see and enjoy in this issue, we suggest that you make a cup of coffee now, put your feet up and enjoy the best that Australia has to offer in design.

And we look forward to seeing you at the IDEA gala party at the Melbourne Museum on 20 November when we announce the winners of IDEA 2015 and can share the evening with you all.

Jan & Gillian

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