Flinders House

2000 - 2002
Flinders, Victoria, Australia

A 30m x 6m single story box on legs, this building expands on the ideas explored in the Peninsula House. In particular it further develops the notion that the traditional function of the verandah (in both western and eastern architecture) when abstracted, becomes the protective outer skin of the building. In this weekend house sited between pine trees near the ocean, the outer skin wraps itself over the building protecting it from the environment, nurturing the inhabitants and enabling the building to be secured when not in use. In that sense it is consistent with my previous houses and the skin in these buildings is constantly being refined and modified to suit the site, programmatic requirements and so on.

There is a significant departure in the planning principles of this building compared to its two predecessors – Carter/Tucker House and Peninsula House. In those buildings circulation was kept fluid in an attempt to emulate the notion of continuous space found in both the Australian outback homestead and the traditional Japanese house. However in this building I am exploring the idea of discrete space – the positioning of autonomous rooms which are directly connected and where the need for corridors is eliminated. Each room is designed to suit its particular function and then placed sequentially alongside the next. The occupation of space is therefore a conscious rather than incidental choice by the owner. Precedents for this partis exist in the humblest worker’s cottages of most western cultures. Coincidentally the idea of divided rather than connected space occurs in traditional Japanese architecture. The entrance to the house is an outdoor deck for hosing down after the beach and the kitchen table (the altar of the Australian family) is the arrival point. There is a pleasant irony there that something as luxurious and indulgent as a weekend house is de-formalised to that extent. Finally the discrete but highly personalized nature of each of the spaces, connected linearly to suit the owner’s particular requirements, draws obvious comparisons to the barcoded society which we have made for ourselves – arguably when discrete space is organized in this way it becomes the thumbprint or barcode of the owner – a building by which they are uniquely identified.