Biennale-Sessions_2018/6-8JUL: Marie short house_ Glenn Murcutt

July 5th, 2018



The first part of our work consisted in the study of Glenn Murcutt’s Marie short house. 

Located on farmland in northern coastal New South Wales the Marie Short House was designed in the 1970s, later purchased and altered by Murcutt in 1980. The house plan is disarmingly simple with two almost identical pavilions, rotated and slipped; Each pavilion is composed by structural timber bays, the last two bays treated as an open entry porch. Between the two, a thickened wall implies an external corridor which links the porches and accommodates the collection of rain water. The strategy to repeat and distinguish the pavilions by function is extended to the kitchen and bathrooms where each functional component is individuated, repeated and grouped as a cluster of cells. The spatial contrast between the service and living zones heightens a sense of generosity in the larger rooms.

The orientation of the house and its articulation are conceived in relation to climatic considerations. The living pavilion faces north to receive sun for the majority of the day. Retractable metal louvers control levels of light and privacy and the glass louvers allow varying degrees of ventilation. This double layered system gives a high degree of personal freedom to orchestrate the building as an instrument, for both environmental comfort and aesthetic experience of the landscape. Climatic performance also drives the detailed resolution of the roof. Curved corrugated metal sheets overlap to provide horizontal ventilation slots. Doubling the layers calls attention to the immaterial edge and renders the building as a horizontal volume. This abstract treatment of the pitched roof form reinforces the conception of the house as a floating platform.

The abstract and original re-presentation of familiar forms such as the pitched roof and entrance porch using local techniques and materials assigns the building an important position within the pursuit and evolution of modernist architecture in Australia.

Our project consists of an extension of our assigned case study.



We decided to realize an independent pavillon, that only has a visual relationship with the existing building.The concept is to create a space of meditation in total relation with the nature of the site, a pavilion that in the vastness of the prairie focuses on creating a relationship between the man and the water; for this reason the idea of ??creating it in the middle of an artificial water basin that contained another pool inside. Our intent was to respect some of the design ideas that Glenn Murcutt used in Marie Short house. We reused the same modularity in our plan,and we have recreated a building that is detached from the ground and that gives the impression of being floating on the water. Thanks to the different dimensions within our project we managed to create different relationships between the pavilion user and the water that surrounds it, both visually and physically, creating a space illuminated only by the frame that surrounds the building at floor level that manages to create an atmosphere suitable for relaxation and meditation.

As in Marie Short House we have designed a wooden frame structure with different types of wooden finishing perfectly integrated in the Australian countryside surrounding. The building wants to reach its potential of interacting with such natural elements as the sun light, the rain water, and the physical context extremely generous in that region. Therefore it shows how architecture can provide the opportunity to emphasize nature’s free gifts creating spaces of quality for anyone who inhabits them.


Maria Cristina Giambri e Karyna Kalchenko.

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