An architect's brief for a new home would ordinarily include the number of bedrooms required and perhaps a request for a space for entertaining nothing too out of the ordinary. But how does an architect accommodate clients who want to build a new home which will house their extensive art collection yet still feel like a home, not just a gallery?
Andrew Boughton of Boughton Architecture was given a list of the art his British clients owned as the starting point for his design. Most of their collection was in storage overseas, so Boughton had to work with photographs and the dimensions of each piece.
His clients' new Perth residence had to be an airy, open-plan home with indoor and outdoor living, room for each piece of art, and plenty of space to entertain.
The site is on a standard, suburban block, and from the street the house is relatively unassuming. There are neighbours on all sides, yet Boughton's design gives a feeling of privacy. Visitors enter the property via an enclosed front paved garden. Upon rounding the corner into the central courtyard, the eye falls on a sculpture of two dancers in the middle of a pool. Beyond, the front door opens into the foyer, at the foot of a glass stair.
French doors opening out onto the courtyard fold back against long stone shutters. These hide the full extent of the collection from sight of an approaching guest.
"The house reveals its contents gradually," says Boughton. "Your attention is directed to one aspect before another, to avoid over-exposure. Inside, we have tried to give each piece a frame of its own. Each sculpture in the corridor, for example, sits within a window frame, so there is space to consider each piece individually."