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House of the Month //April 2014

Oxdale Drive House by James Russell Architect

I’ve always appreciated the architecture of James Russell for their attention to detail and infinitely fine craftsmanship, as well as for their oft ingenious approach to the contemporary way of living. With an underlying focus on genuinely considering what one does and doesn’t really need from a Queenslander, the firm produce some wonderful examples of the contemporary verandah houses – those which Glenn Murcutt opened the world to back in the early days of world-class Australian Architecture. “A shelter can be as simple as a roof to shield the summer sun or a wall to protect from winter winds. The experiences derived from a building which allows you to interact with the environment, outweigh the occasional discomforts that may occur by not having “complete control” of the environment.” Of course, in designing houses which are at once inside and out, threshold spaces begin to take on a crucial role, and this is where James Russell Architect consistently prove themselves to be considerate, aware, and highly diligent designers.

Oxdale Drive House is a wonderful example of the kind of unique and highly livable spaces this sort of approach is able to produce, and relies on the careful interaction between interior and exterior architecture and design to enliven all of its spaces. In this way, the building envelope performs a central role in creating habitable spaces which work with their context (the warm Queensland climate) as well as satisfying other necessary functional requirements. “Skins can be changed to suit conditions. The skins are often low tech and require the occupant to adjust them manually.” Something about this approach seems to hint at a high level of sustainability and global awareness, without overtly pressing the point. And most often than not, these subtle, confident designers produce work with far greater appropriateness and longevity than their wordy, boastful counterparts.

Architecture is, in the end, about creating spaces for living, and the Oxdale Drive House seems a mighty appealing place to be, if you ask me!

All photography by Toby Scott
 

 

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Poppy

About the Author:

Our principle designer Poppy is a Masters of Architecture graduate from the University of Newcastle, Australia. She graduated in 2013 with First Class Honours, received the Dean's Medal and was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter Masters of Architecture Graduate of the Year prize. In 2010, Poppy received the Eric Parker Travelling Scholarship encouraging the research and drawing of architecture.

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