The Athan House avoids the enduring folkloric tradition of homesteads, verandahs, shearing sheds, heroic squatter fiefdoms. Et alia. It is indebted to Malevich, Roger Kemp, St. Kilda boarding houses and mockery, in the Australian sense. The clients are prophets in the new world.
The Athan House is pervaded by a sense of ambiguity. Located somewhat beyond Melbourne’s suburban fringe but still in its sphere of influence, this clever, urbane building is the antithesis of sprawling, open planned, picture windowed, Australian suburbia. Its tight, compartmentalised internal planning, carefully controlled openings and defensive entry wall hint at an urban European view of family life and suggest a slightly uneasy relationship with its luxuriant remnant forest setting.
On the other hand the irregularity of the building, its bright optimistic use of colour and the frequent reaching out to the surroundings via small decks, bridges and balconies impart a sort of holiday house informality to the design, entirely in keeping with the site.
As with much of Peter Corrigan’s other work, the architect’s expressionist sympathies are revealed by the building’s taut, fragmented, plan and massing.
Contributed by ArchiTeam
Photos: Courtesy of Edmond and Corrigan