Simon and Freda Thornton ARCHITECTS
The Space Capsule House Extension ALPHINGTON
The Lunar Module shape of this extension to a Californian Bungalow house in Alphington may be said to fall within the emerging genre of ‘science fiction architecture.’ Replete with a ‘capsule’ at the top and ‘legs’ at the bottom, it stands somewhat mysteriously in this suburban back yard, and seems to have been joined onto the house with a weatherboard link.
The space underneath the Lunar Module appears to have been built in with radially sawn weatherboards and timber–framed doors and windows as infill between the ‘legs’ to make a Games room. Bedrooms for the two boys occupy the middle level, adjacent to a stair and study space. Stepped shelves lead up from here to a concealed door to the ‘capsule’ at the top, which has a clear roof rising to a point, suitable for viewing deep space.
The science fiction shape of this extension is not a response primarily to context, function or purpose, but is a playful concept drawn from a much broader cultural realm. It is a springboard for individuals to invent their own stories and to be reminded of their own experiences, including comic books, science fiction films and documentary footage of space exploration. Many questions are raised: how did the Lunar Module get here? Were there astronauts in it? What happened to them? Will it tear loose and shoot off into the sky, taking the two boys with it? Would the house insurance policy cover the repair costs?