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Letterbox House, Blairgowrie, Australia

Thursday 04 Nov 2010

Great Australian Veranda writ large

Copyright of John Gollings and McBride Charles Ryan Architects 
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 4

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23/11/10 Simon Thornton, Melbourne
One of the interesting things about many of the architects working in and around Melbourne is their refusal to be limited by modernist grammer, minimalist aesthetics, delicate detailing or polite recessive affectation. In contrast, they draw on a very diverse range of influences with a sense of liberation and abandon, and, yes, the detailing is often deliberately rough and ready in the tradition of Peter Corrigan. Melbourne architecture at its best reflects our appreciation and enjoyment of irony, overstatement, posturing, vulgarity, bantering and gruff affection, and sits within high, low and kitsch contexts simultaneously. McBride Charles Ryan are certainly one of the best practitioners in this field. This house is a small example of the growing body of excellent work carried out by this firm.
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11/11/10 Mike, Budapest
Even if the materials were used with exquisite precision, this wouldn't be any more than habitable sculpture - I repeat myself, but so does 99% of magazine "architecture" these days. I agree with the first comment, but it's not only true of Australia.
09/11/10 CityView, London
Apart from the beautiful colour of the raw wood there is little to commend this and just emphasises how disappointing much architecture in Australia is. This utterly fails to understand the purpose of the beautiful Victorian style verandah and thus create the shade and cool comfort the old elegant structures were built for. (These fine old buildings are still being demolished all over Aus - madness).
Inside a ridiculous strange jagged corridor has been produced. There is little but sadness at the time and wood wasted in producing such a structure.
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09/11/10 Donovan, San Francisco
interesting design and materials. but the construction and finishing is so so poor, the lines dont match up anywhere. looks ragged


McBride Charles Ryan Architects present their twist on a local design tradition 

The Letterbox House by Mcbride Charles Ryan is really one long expression of the veranda. However, while many examples of this design tradition in a nation where outdoor living is particularly popular are enclosed and protective, this is deliberately exposed, producing, as the client required, more of a stage - a performance space.

The visibility from the road, together with the boldness of the decked space begs performance from those on it in the same way a karaoke microphone begs a song. Children proudly strike poses on this veranda.

The Letterbox motif comes from the architect's study of another Australian tradition - the decorated mailbox. People regularly put more energy and personality into their letterbox than into their house - with a Ned Kelly helmet, a cow, a milk pail, or a mansion common places that the postman puts the mail.

The Letterbox house, with its sculpted facade and bold veranda is an attempt to put that level of energy into the actual living space, and as such it works.

Ross Sturley

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
McBride Charles Ryan

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