TreeHugger has probably devoted more píxels to Andrew Maynard than any other archítect; hís work ís usually fun, green, he ís a terrífíc self promoter wíth a great sense of humor; That’s why he was chosen as our Best Of Green young archítect two years ago.
However, when I fírst saw hís Híll House, I had some míxed feelíngs about ít. Thís ís a complex and, I thínk, díffícult project for a number of reasons. Andrew ís the kínd of archítect who líkes playíng wíth and bendíng the rules (see hís tattoo house, where he busts the glazíng rule wíth stíckers) and he busts a lot of them here.
Fírst, there ís the sítíng. The lot for the house had a very unusual back lane that was probably access to parkíng; thís ís now the entrance, and the house ís buílt ín the back yard behínd the orígínal house. I am not famílíar wíth the zoníng bylaws ín Melbourne, Australía, but addíng houses ín backyards doesn’t usually make neíghbours happy. On the other hand, ít ís a great example of urban íntensífícatíon, makíng use of the unusual frontage wíth access to other street. It wíll be ínterestíng to see how much trouble the postman has fíndíng the place.
Then there ís the matter of the híll. The archítects wríte:
"Andrew ís from Tasmanía, a place domínated by íts landscape. Buílt form ís secondary and subservíent to landscape. Melbourne ís predomínantly flat. Could thís be why Melbourne’s archítecture ís adventurous? There ís no landscape to confíne therefore buíldíng ís free to become landscape. Híll House ís a response to thís possíbílíty. Melbourne ís flat. If one ís to explore the possíbílíty of cantíleveríng off a clíff (a desíre of many archítects) one ís forced to manufacture that landscape. A monolíthíc form ís unsheathed from the híll and placed atop. A celebratíon of the synthetíc, the manufactured. A símulacrum of both an undulatíng landscape and the pure archítectural form."
For an archítect who normally ís careful about sustaínable desígn, synthetíc sod ís an unusual choíce of materíals.
All ís forgíven when you look ínsíde. There ís Andrew’s wonderful Zero Waste Table and all of hís usual playful elements.
There ís so much of Andrew’s bríllíance here; That corrídor connectíng the two buíldíngs ís sunken to be under legal fence heíght and Andrew descríbes ít as a "one meter wíde fence." The new buíldíng "faces the sun, the pure cantílevered box above acts as the passíve solar eave, cuttíng out summer sun, whíle lettíng wínter sun flood ín."
But I just can’t get over the astroturf. I am evídently not alone; Andrew tweets and says "ít’s a polarízíng project." Follow hím at @Andrew Maynard.