Cullen-Aalhuizen House
Cullen- Aalhuizen House In a place where there is no street environment, the internal experience is intensified in importance. When our client bought the house, he asked me to design an extension on the land adjacent. I approached Glenn Murcutt, the original architect of Cullen House, at the time, who helped and encouraged the design throughout. His lasting advice to my client was that “you must not interfere with the design process` (too much anyway). I asked Glenn about what to do for things like the roof, starting work with a flat roof which then, as the plans developed more and more in a slow process over a few years, came to include a long cranked concrete beam, which allows the sun in as a source of reflected light. I was encouraged by Glenn to go to Santorini, and so I visited that beautiful place which, when I reflect on it, must have influenced my thoughts. It was also suggested to design a pool at the end of the glass window which faces the harbour. Andrew Johnson of ARUP helped with the concrete roof and forms that are heavy at the top and carry down to touch the ground so lightly. The plan for the work creates a new sliver, taken from Louis Kahn’s ideas at the Kimbell – a new pavilion here is next to an old, however never higher, never longer than the original – just a sliver of built form and light in this “wharf-like` urban landscape. Sunlight from the east and west is controlled through operable devices. Cross ventilation passes through the centre breezeway between the old and new pavilions, and soft natural lighting lands in all rooms mostly reflected off a concrete or timber surface. The silver light absorbed by the concrete delivers a surreal effect. So too does the living room wall which opens to the harbour: the ultimate and essential room of the house. There is a shifting of space and time when one considers the idea of adding to a great architect’s original work. In this way, the ideas of Eileen Gray in her carpet design (Image 1) are like the shifting plan (Image 2). Light is like a leaf in concrete, the beam of which has no support for 15m. The uninterrupted force of light deals enters a sliver of space not much larger than 300mm. in this way there is omnipresent weight and lightness which works with internalized wisdom to make a new shadow. The thickness of space can thereby be manifest in the dealings of light during the day. By sitting and feeling the warmth of the light, you are no longer desperately only dealing with the view. Note: For images refer to composition text images file


12 photos and 8 drawings

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