Great Australian Veranda writ large

04 Nov 2010

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

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