Monday, April 4, 2011
Home sweet home hunting
I've been house hunting with a view to us buying a house and moving out of the rental home we currently live in.
(If any architecture students would like to see a classic example of what style of house doesn't work in this climate then they are welcome to come and have a cup of tea at my rented hotbox during a 30+ day, of which we had 60 during summer and another 16 so far this autumn. Depressingly this house, like so many new homes built here, is just a series of design faults with a roof; I dream of taking a concrete-cutter to it to shift some windows around but I won't because I guess then I wouldn't get my bond back.)
My house hunt has not been successful so far. See if you can work out why. The picture above and in the mosaics below are of houses in Mandurah and that are currently listed for sale on Domain where I swiped these pictures from.
WARNING: some of you should go and get a bucket before looking any further.
Not all of the houses in Mandurah are pink with orange rooves, but in one Disneyland-like suburb most are. And apparently they aren't allowed to have solar panels on the roof because they are aesthetically displeasing. The world has officially gone mad.
Truth be told I actually can't afford any of those houses. Here are a couple I can afford.
Oh groan. Sorry to inflict that on you but I felt like I needed to provide evidence to those of you who just think I'm being overly picky. Plenty of people here obviously love that sort of house or there wouldn't be so many of them. I do not love that sort of house. Of course there are various other housing options in Mandurah and by looking at 793 Open Homes and interloaning every architecture book from the State Library I have identified exactly what option I hope to find a great example of and make our own.
While most of the thousands of new project homes being built here make we want to weep, I love some project homes that were built here in the 1970s. The houses I love are either examples of some that were designed by a WA architect who teamed up with a local project home building firm, or rather dishy ripoffs of their work. These homes are modest and simple but clever and stylish and thankfully are pretty unpopular given the reaction I get from real estate agents when I describe what I'm looking for. I have found a few examples locally but none were ideal as they were either wedged up against a new main road, in suburbs where the deli (don't get excited, that's just a dairy) is covered with razor wire, simply far too small (boarding school maybe? bunch of caravans in the carport?) or had been hideously molested by unsympathetic "renovators". The one I'm most excited about seeing inside is on my street, a bit neglected, not for sale and currently inhabited by some interesting folk who the police visit regularly.
If you are feeling sullied by the pictures above, do what I do to wash the nastiness away: visit the Modernist Australia blog,
type "Robin Boyd" into Mr Google and roll around in the images,
(I think that pic came from the Boyd Homes group)
get hold of a copy of Green magazine,
or of Sanctuary magazine.
Better still go to a real life exhibition of the work of pioneering local architect Raymond Jones,
who "isn't impressed by a lot of modern architecture in Perth, saying he's depressed by the proliferation of ugliness" .
He is not alone.