McBride Charles Ryan 3

McBride Charles Ryan – Letterbox House

Completed in 2009, this 3,121 square foot contemporary home, designed by Australian studio McBride Charles Ryan feels like a half space, half enclosed, half open. Neither in nor out – a new version of the good old Aussie veranda.

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Located in Blairgowrie, Victoria, Australia, the house has a clear hierarchy. Contrasting to the raked timber wall that stretches from the letterbox to become the westerly verandah, the remainder of the house appears as a simple modernist expression akin to many of the houses of the region. On approach, the raked timber wall appears to have morphed from out of the diminutive letterbox. Yet from other perspectives the house appears to have been carved away. The two techniques are conceptually contradictory.

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The wall is a wrapped deck, cliff, upturned boat, frozen wave, verandah, internally a depository of the bric-a-brac collected on beach holidays – an essential medium for evoking family memories.

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The wall is an in-between zone, a powerful stage for enacting family life. It is a place to watch the kids and the sunsets, to enhance the beach holiday and to ground memory. It will be a backdrop to family photos as years pass.

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Its like a giant multi-sensory organ, the sun, the sky, the breeze and the sound and smell of the sea – When you arrive here of an evening and stand here and see the stars, no matter how still it is, you smell the sea – suck it in, it transforms you, reminds you (of what matters), it’s a kind of tonic.

We like the buildings that make you smile (not laugh). It makes people smile, a building with the smallest façade on the peninsula – the building begins as the letterbox and unfurls to become this healthy scaled verandah, to some it is an upturned boat, to others it a wave a cliff. We like it being many things – people stop and ask us, we just say it is what it is to you.

We wanted to show respect – the peninsula needs it, and the scale here was modest beach suburban –we wanted to respect that scale – and yet as you walk along the deck the scale sneaks up on you – before you know it your immersed and surrounded by the scale of the house – a bit like life really.

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Via  McBride Charles Ryan, Homedgn.com

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