Acton Park House (Stealth House)

This house is located on a once-rural site now subdivided into large lots.  The project furthers our explorations into place-based architecture - but one which extends notions of place from topography, climate and vegetation to include cultural and societal narratives.  In this rural subdivision, these narratives include the role of the uncanny and unexpected.

The house is a low-lying long, dark object placed centrally on the allotment in anticipation of the preservation of distant views and amenity when adjacent allotments are developed.  The stretched house responds to the open landscape with which it seeks to engage, one of low-lying open fields and sheltered water-ways which folds into a neck of land adjacent to Hobart Airport.  The setting is contained by a horizontal band of hills which define the bottom edge of a large sky view.

The reality of the suburban subdivision anchors an interest in the uncanny manifest in the photographic work of Gregory Crewdson. The large scale allotments are driven by the aspiration for "rural" living, but in fact amplify suburban issues such as lack of privacy and the enchainment to maintenance of manicured "front lawns" albeit on a magnified scale.

The building's exterior seeks to disappear like a stealth bomber into the shadows of the adjacent mature pine trees.  In turn, this seemingly non-material "shadow" in the landscape provides a blunt background upon which a level of finessing - profiled gutters, broken flashing and window arrangements (including the TV satellite dish) are among many elements added-on in a "toy"-like manner. The blunt external envelope is contrasted by a dramatic interior - formed by breaks in the linear plan so that all spaces have a share of the view.  The result is an internal sequence of varied spaces, each setting the occupant up in a different relationship to the external environment. 

At two points, the tightly-packed interior is pulled apart, where the occupant is "exposed" to the outside and the outside seeks to flow through unabated.

Photography by Ray Joyce

Untitled image by Gregory Crewdson, 2001-2002, Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.