BOOK REVIEW By Belinda Morris
ARCHITECT’S HOMES By Bethany Patch (£35, The Images Publishing Group)
You know that old truism about certain creative/artisans/tradespeople… the one that says, for instance, that some of the best plumbers live for years with a leaky shower cubicle or an unfinished ensuite? Or that families of builders live with stacks of paperbacks on the floor thanks to a startling lack of bookshelves? Well, this is not an old chestnut that can be applied to architects… or certainly not the shining examples of the craft selected for this book.
And there’s an obvious logic to this. As the introduction points out, architects use the design of their own homes as a design experiment, and their home becomes a showcase for their own beliefs and ideas (and talent of course). Their training and experience aside, how they choose to design, build and fit their home is influenced by many other things: their culture, lifestyle, upbringing, and, clearly, the situation of the house. The difference between living with soft, grey light or harsh, bright sunshine, for instance, is naturally reflected in the materials used and amount of glass.
While architects’ homes can often be huge ‘MacMansions’, there is a growing movement towards responsible, scaled-down ‘micro-units’ that are in ‘direct relationship to their needs’. Whichever is the case, in each of the 42 projects in this book, the architect outlines the aim, desire, design, constraints, construction – while telling the whole story through detailed images of interior and exterior. Everywhere you look there’s inspiration. Just beware though of Other People’s Home Envy! Personally I’m torn between the cute, ingeniously conceived extension of amodest workers cottage in Melbourne and the massive, minimal modernity of a Malaysian mansion…