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James Russell Toomba House

March 24, 2009

This project is inspired by the clients’ passion for connecting with their site and surrounding neighbourhood. Movement from street to backyard is a journey through landscape. The journey is casual, with slatted screening making a transition from public to private. Old and new interact across the courtyard in the middle. It is the middle where […]

This project is inspired by the clients’ passion for connecting with their site and surrounding neighbourhood. Movement from street to backyard is a journey through landscape. The journey is casual, with slatted screening making a transition from public to private. Old and new interact across the courtyard in the middle. It is the middle where the house physically and socially comes together. The entrance was repositioned to bring people between old and new, into the public domain-courtyard. The semi-public zones of kitchen, living, dining and family surround this space.

One aspect of my architectural practice is the exploration of a spatial analogy determined by ‘Lanes and Squares’. Traditionally, the ‘Lane’ is a narrow service access between wider public roads, whilst the ‘Square’ is an open common area traditionally located in the centre of a town, a place of gathering, ritual and negotiation. The analogy supports an investigation into the common and individual relationships between these spatial types. This defines the public and private, levels of containment and degrees of intimacy.

The Toomba Avenue house is an example of this spatial analogy. It demonstrates that spaces can create meaningful sequences whilst providing the opportunity to gather and experience the outdoor realm. The project has resulted in the definition of two outdoor spaces. The first is a yard to the street and an extension of the park across the road. The second more intimate space is private and secure, linking both parts of this village. This approach aims to establish settings that support the clients’ daily lives – meals with friends, etc.

My continued exploration of this analogy underpins the mediating nature of the public outdoor realm within the architecture. It is this realm that excites me. I see it as the core of the design intent, ripe with the opportunity to reveal the most desirable experiential spaces.

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