The Greek Village House MACEDON
No, the owners aren't Greek and the house is near the rural town of Macedon in Victoria. While the exterior is a randomly formed mud brick dwelling with a metal roof, the interior was designed by choosing a photo which the owners had taken in a village on one of the Greek islands, depicting several traditional houses, and using it as a starting point in a process of dreaming up a house which is itself like a village. Each room represents a house, so the parents and each of the children have a 'front door' and window to their bedrooms.
Macedon is wetter than Greece so the whole 'village' is covered with a large tent-like roof in corrugated steel, part of which is raised to allow north sun to flood inside in winter, lighting up the stair and bringing in the sun's warmth. The walls are made of mud bricks painted white, and so the house has an abundance to thermal mass to store heat in winter and coolness in summer.
Everywhere you look there are interesting touches, such as a small door from one of the children's bedrooms to a raised balcony above the laundry - an ideal study nook from which to supervise the dinner preparations. The Kitchen joinery has inlays of American Oak veneer in the shape of sea birds, fish and seaweed, set in a background of Jarrah veneer.
The parents' bedroom has a balcony overlooking the stair, and if you go into the Ensuite Bathroom you will discover that the tiles in the shower recess are in fact a map of the Greek Islands, with the towns marked in red.
Guests arrive at their bedroom door via a two metre long vault of mud bricks.
How can an architect justify designing in this picturesque and romantic way? Simon Thornton argues that we live in an era of international travel and that we are constantly bombarded by photographic images. So a design approach which addresses these realities is more 'modern' than a design which is based on the imagery of the Modern movement, which is now a hundred years old!
But architects are always going on about this theory or that. The important question is whether the house is a delightful place to live, full of light and colour, abounding in delightful nooks and crannies, sensuous to the touch, cozy in winter, cool in summer, a pleasure for all ages to live in and a joy for friends to visit.