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arts

EDITED EXTRACT FROM

BRUCE RICKARD A LIFE IN ARCHIECTURE NEWSOUTH PUBLISHING, 2018

extract

THE ORGANIC MODERNISM /JAPANESE PERIOD Curry House II was built in 1980. It and similar houses of this period showed Bruce

RickardMODERNISM/JAPANESE challenging the Organic style, especially on steep bushland sites. He THE ORGANIC PERIOD

used concrete slabs which grew to provide raised edge seating to cantilevered

balconies, which, when combined with circular unique, Brucecolumns, was keenly created aware of Kenzō Tange’s house, Curry House II was built in 1980. It and similar houses Japanese-like framing the building’s superstructure. Hisitsbuildings built in 1953, and distillationbecame of the Japanese house of this period showed Bruce Rickard to challenging the more machine-like and three-dimensionallyinto challenging in a sculptural way. a modern dwelling. He borrowed its tatami mats, Organic style, especially on steep bushland sites. He used shade rendering dark against the light concreteThe slabsinfluence which grewof to Japanese provide raisedarchitecture edge seating andlight art and on Modernism is eaves legendary, but rarely examined in detail. It iswith interestingskytoand interrogate certain details its screens with sensitivity but robustness, to cantilevered balconies, which, when combined in this period.framing Let’s take the influence of Japanese woodcut which perhaps comes from looking back further to circularBruce columns,developed created unique, Japanese-like prints, superstructure. especially the as a given. From the Japanese architecture of the Edo period of the to the building’s HisUkiyo-e buildingsstyle, becameon the Impressionists early Orientalism in the 1860s, to the Japanese andInon to VanI Gogh, 1600sgarden to the1700s. particular am thinking of more machine-like and three-dimensionally challenging Degas, Gauguin, Bonnard, Japanese woodcut prints then filtered into Frank the Samurai’s House, Hekitei, and the Museum in a sculptural way. Lloyd Wright and Charles Rennie Macintosh, with their clarity, asymmetry, Folklore (formerly a house also). If flat perspectival space and diagonal grids. ofIt Historical is all there in Bruce Rickard’s you marry the collapse Hekitei’s interiors, The influence of Japanese architecture art on designs, but dealing withand new constraints. There is the of the with ideatheir of elegant eavesreinvent and clerestory treatments with the Modernism is legendary, butshoji rarelyscreens, examined inwhich detail. slide and static rooms via space like sailing a Tokugawa Shogunate, an imposing fortress, one starts to It is interesting to interrogate certain details Bruce boat, reconfigured by the complexity of shared spaces and off set grids. understand the possible origins of the Curry House II developed in this period. Let’s take the influence of was keenly aware Kenzō Tange’s house, in 1953, andcolumns its distillation concrete built structures. Circular and the stacked JapaneseBruce woodcut prints, especially the of Ukiyo-e style, of the Japanese house into a modern dwelling. He borrowed its tatami mats, block appearance of the seat edge skirts and slab on the Impressionists as a given. From early Orientalism light and shade rendering eaves dark against the light sky and its screens with edges form a podium timber storeysto above. in the 1860s, to the Japanese garden and on to Vanperhaps comes sensitivity but robustness, which from lookingforback further the This clearly interpreted from Bruce’s visits to Japan, Gogh, Degas, Gauguin, Bonnard, Japanese Japanese architecture of thewoodcut Edo period of isthe 1600s to the1700s. In particular I as by his slide collections. He observes the timber prints then ltered intoof Frank Wright and Charles amfithinking theLloyd Samurai’s House, Hekitei,attested and the Museum of Historical Folklore frameworks and how theytheir embrace the sweep and Rennie Macintosh, their clarity, flat the Hekitei’s (formerly with a house also).asymmetry, If you marry interiors, with elegant eaves andspace clerestory treatments the Tokugawa Shogunate, an overhangs imposingand fortress, curvature of the eave clerestory glazing, perspectival and diagonal grids. It iswith all there starts to understand the new possible origins the Curry II concrete all of hovering withinHouse the dishevelled Sydney bushland in Bruceone Rickard’s designs, but dealing with structures. Circular and the stacked block appearance seat edgework sites. The resulting buildingofisthe a breakthrough constraints. There is the collapse columns of the idea of static skirts slab edges a podium above. is clearly withinstoreys the Sydney SchoolThis and remains yet to be fully rooms via shojiand screens, which slide form and reinvent space for timber interpreted from Bruce’s visits to Japan, as appreciated attested by his slide collections. He for its iconic mastery. like sailing a boat, reconfigured by the complexity of observes the timber frameworks and how they embrace the sweep and curvature shared spaces and offset grids. of the eave overhangs and clerestory glazing, all hovering within the dishevelled Sydney bushland sites. The resulting building is a breakthrough work within the Sydney School and remains yet to be fully appreciated for its iconic mastery.

Opposite top: Floor plan, Kenzō Tange House, designed 1953 by Kenzō Tange. Robin Boyd (1962), Kenzō Tange, Makers of Contemporary Architecture, George Braziller, plate 20 Opposite bottom: Kenzō Tange House, Seijo, Tokyo. Robin Boyd (1962), Kenzō Tange, Makers of Contemporary Architecture, George Braziller, plate 19

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CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP RIGHT: Rickard House III, Cottage Point. Photo: Max Dupain, 1988. Curry House II, Bayview. Photo: Max Dupain, 1980, courtesy of Eric Sierins. Looking west and upwards across five different levels, from the lower lounge area, across the vast cathedral room, towards the upper level entrance and the two western bedrooms. The dramatic concrete ‘seat’ girder cascades through the house like a jagged lightning bolt. As a unifying structural element, it forms part of an elevated walking bridge and borders many of the rooms, but its unique cantilevered form is also a decorative and comfortable feature. Its textured underside can be seen in the top corner, after it turns to the north to define the upstairs lounge. The roughly cut transverse sandstone wall divides the lounge from the elevated dining area, with the distant kitchen behind a central cupboard island. The breakfast and TV areas adjoin the kitchen, with the far western wall of the house just visible centre right. There are no doors to interfere with movement through the main spaces. Max Dupain, Rickard House III, photo March 1988. Bruce Rickard Archive. Dupain’s compositional prowess is always enriched when engaged by the architectural intent. Here, through his second camera and binoculars, we sense his presence as he observes the outdoor room within the tree canopy where people work or relax. Griffin House Dual Occupancy Project, Castlecrag. Bruce Rickard and Associates, 1993-95. Photo: Lindy Kerr, Historic Houses Trust NSW (Sydney Living Museums), c.1995. Kyomizu-Dera Temple, Kyoto, formerly Samurai House.Large scale but indicative of columns used on steep sites, liberating the building from the ground. Postcard c.1930. CLA collection Rickard.

Left: Kyomizu-Dera Temple, Kyoto, formerly Samurai House. Large scale but indicative of columns used on steep sites, liberating the building from the ground. Postcard c.1930. CLA collection

24/08/2018 10:05 AM

THE LAST POST – 2019 ANZAC DAY EDITION  37  

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