ARCHITECT ROBERT PUKSAND describes Field House as a living sculpture. Externally and internally his home is designed to be seen as an arrangement of planes that appear to float and connect in unexpected ways, to create a field where the occupant can engage in space which is striated and sandwiched.
As a Founding Partner at multi-disciplinary design practice Gray Puksand, Field House is the result of Puksand’s personal exploration of architecture as a protagonist for creating happy spaces, and takes its name from the idea of making space with amorphous architecture that attempts to overcome traditional interpretations of ‘outside’ and ‘inside, and even ‘house’. Puksand elaborates on this theory in his paper Making Space: Notes on Field House. [i]
“I wanted to create a setting that was like living in a sculpture,” he says. “The whole house is about creating delight with curves and the interplay of one wall against another.”
This theory is based on the idea that the eye is always roving as you move through a space and see it from different viewpoints to understand where you are.
During the design phase of the project, Puksand’s investigation of the layering of shapes to achieve this effect resulted in the use of the crescent shape which he has applied at the ends of walls. When multiple planes are overlaid, a play of secondary shapes in space becomes visible.
“When you go down the road of relying on the planes playing off one against each other and using that as your main idea you need to keep the finishes austere and minimalist.”
Field House is a low maintenance home with a hand-crafted polished concrete floor, and is designed to maintain comfort using passive design principles with screens, skylights and glazing that result in a happy play of shapes and shadows.
Largely solid boundary walls on the east and west sides provide passive thermal control and respond to the architectural concept with long floating planes while also providing privacy to adjacent homes. Full height glazing and sliding screens at the north and south facades allow natural light to flood in and breezes to find their way through the home.
Completed in February 2016, the $1.8 million home is set in a 460sqm site in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton. It has a total built floor area of 500sqm over three levels with the ground floor serving as the primary living zone with master bedroom. Additional bedrooms and a secondary living area are on level one and the garage and ancillary areas comprise the basement level.
The complex design of Field House meant that a close working relationship was necessary between the architect and builder with many construction details resolved following rigorous on-site testing of new materials sourced from Europe. The external polished ceramic panel cladding and exterior grade MDF used for the perforated entry screen were sourced during the build and the curved wall ends required complicated framework to achieve.
Puksand’s bold design successfully merges architectural theory with sculptural forms and his personal design brief to enrich his family’s daily life through space making.
Design and documentation: 12 months
Construction: 15 months
i] Making Space: Notes on Field House
This is an expanded version of a story that first appeared online in Australian Design Review in April 2016.