The Medhurst House

The Cape Schanck House is like a box kite flying high above Bass Strait, twisting around its long axis as it dives into the top of the dunes. The Medhurst House is a glazed pavilion floating in Miesian serenity above serried rows of vines. In contrast to these ancient earthbound types, the Cape Schanck and Medhurst houses are based on a typology that defies architectural tradition and history. Rather than grounded, they appear airborne. The Cape Schanck House is a black elongated rectilinear tube of space that resembles a giant box kite landing on the dunes. The Medhurst House, floating above the vineyard, is a pure Platonic glazed box recalling the first seemingly airborne building, Mies van der Rohe 's Farnsworth House (1946-51). Denton …show more content…
The Medhurst House will never be seen from above, yet it has been resolved by the designers into a pair of carefully contrived sets of concentric rectangles. One set is formed from the elements of the roof, the other from the paved terrace and insert of lawn. The roof and terrace rectangles overlay a staggered set of lower-level cross-walls. From this bird 's-eye view, the building is rendered as a two-dimensional composition of rectangles (blades) superimposed over much narrower rectangles (sticks). To one side of this PROUN-like abstraction are the regular, precise, parallel rows of European grape vines; to the other side, random Australian native gum trees. As land art, the Medhurst House is juxtaposed against two notions of 'nature ': cultivated and wild. At a metaphysical level, the house stands between order and chaos. On one side, it opens to the order of the vineyard below; and on the other side, it turns its back to chaos, presenting to the bush a wall composed from two long green horizontal sticks. Existentially, this composition of sticks and blades (wall, floor, roof) provides a sheltered prospect, a place to stand with one 's back

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