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Jun. 4, 2020 | Thursday
Editorials and Opinions
Architext: When done right
A fine example of 21st-century Modern design. (Brian Marshall/Supplied)

The role of architect carries with it a heavy responsibility, for their design will become a permanent fixture in the lives of their clients and the broader community. Bluntly, if the architect fails in the execution of their craft, the result will assault everybody’s sensibilities for decades.

While design integrity must be guarded in every new commission, the straight-lines and apparent simplicity of the 21st-century Modern style can lull the uninitiated into believing it easy to design. In fact, nothing is further from the truth. To work successfully in this style, the architect must possess true creativity, an intuitive grasp of materials and iron discipline in adhering to key design principles. Without these qualities in full measure, the result will be a design which at best will appear odd, uninspired or out-of-place and, at worst, will be a jarring collection of unconnected elements that is in continual conflict with its site and neighbourhood.

Properly designed, this style will enhance the neighbourhood. Consider the home in our photo. Set on a corner lot ‘island’, its cantilevered portico, flush-set metal framed windows topped by clean, relatively thin visors and broad white stucco expanses, show the style’s international roots. Naturally coloured horizontal wood planks break the white stucco planes to introduce an organic element. These boards are installed in a shadow gap method (a ¼” to 1” space left between each board to create shadow lines). This, combined with the horizontal relief lines incised in the stucco in line with the top of the window frames, produce a subtle yet very effective three-dimensional patterning across the facade. Privacy screen fencing, echoing the shadow gap cladding, merges the landscaping and facade to complete the overall composition while gently heightening the ‘island’ lot effect. The gestalt blends with and enhances its neighbourhood.