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Organic Architecture

 

WALLY GREENHAM
House at Manypeaks
Mt Manypeaks, Western Australia

 

Upon graduating from architecture school in Western Australia, Wally Greenham was awarded with a travel scholarship that he used to visit Japan. Greenham’s interest in Japanese architecture was shared by other organic architects such as Bruce Goff and Frank Lloyd Wright. While Greenham readily acknowledged a great appreciation of Wright’s work, his architecture appears to be more akin to that of Bruce Goff. It has the freedom of expression and is as loose and experimental as Goff’s work, yet Greenham never knew anything of Goff.

The house at Mt Manypeaks, just east of Albany, sits sandwiched between two national parks on a stretch of uninhabited coastline. With Mt Manypeaks immediately to the east, and waves breaking over rocks out to seas, the site for this house is exceptionally beautiful. It is also exceptionally windy. The house consists of a seven form concrete tubes that radiate from a large glass dome. Because the windy coastal environment if often unpleasant and made it difficult to grow a descent garden, the glass dome provided a warm comfortable space that acted somewhat like a greenhouse. Greenham was even able to grow a fruiting banana tree. Unfortunately, the steel frame that supported the dome corroded after it was exposed to the marine environment for many years and collapsed. The dome was replaced by a polycarbonate sheet roof that protects the edges of the central courtyard from rain. The new arrangement provides adequate protection from the elements. This is important because the indoor garden beneath the glass dome also acted as the main circulation space for the house.

Greenham poured all the concrete tubes himself. Each tube has its own function; one is a dining room, another a bedroom, one is a workshop, and another houses a guest room, and each is adorned with a sliding aluminium semi domed window arrangement. Greenham believed that the floor slab must be at the level of the ground outside, and so the sand dunes come right up to the windows. By eliminating any change in height between inside and out, the floor begins to feel as though it is part of the surrounding landscape. When the windows are opened there is no step to make before entering the realm of the outdoors. In fact, because the window is partially spherical, the opening extends inside over the interior floor. Greenham also believed that space should flow through all aspects of the building. Subsequently there are no interior doors between rooms or on cupboards. All elements in the house appear as independent objects that exist in a space the extends to the horizon.



Copyright 2013.        Andrew T Boyne Architect.        A: 69 Stanley St Nedlands 6009 Western Australia        P: 0423601604         E: architect@andrewtboyne.com