A traditional Australian verandah given a modern twist by McBride Charles Ryan
Letterbox House is like a half space; half enclosed, half open. Neither in nor out – a new version of the good old Aussie verandah. The architects liken the house to 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. The architects like 'the buildings that make people smile; it achieves this. 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’s a wave or a cliff.
The architects wanted to show respect – the peninsula needs it, and the scale here was a modest beach – and yet as you walk along the deck the scale sneaks up on you; before you know it you are immersed and surrounded by the house. The peninsula is the place where you suspend formality and convention for a while and the architects wanted the building to do this and to remind people of that: "It becomes ambiguous - what is it? Where is the front door? You don’t need a ‘front door’ in a holiday house – you just find your way in. Late on a sunny afternoon, when you are all salty, it is a great place to sit. The sun gives the wall a golden glow, which is echoed by the golden beer in your hand. You sit and watch the kids do what kids do – the things they forget to do when you are in the city."
The inside of this golden wall is vivid red; the support structure and the support shelves which in time will become deposits of beach memories, the much leafed book, the photos, the bric-a-brac of beach holidays and markers of the quintessential Australian family life.