It is the fact that I live in a Bruce Rickard house ( where my family and I have been for 11 years) that started my whole interest in Australian domestic architecture and those that created it.
My husband and I got to know Bruce and were part of an informal club which met, visited each others houses, and then had lunch with Bruce. It was a great opportunity to see his different projects, on different sites for different clients – but all with his use of natural materials and his use of space for communal use – and all with a deep connection to the natural landscape.
My family and I were part of his 80th birthday celebrations at a house he had built for himself at Cottage Point. It was a joyful, inclusive affair with all generations in attendance. Many of his children spoke, as Bruce himself did, in his quite considered and gently humorous way. The warmth of the occassion was unmistakable. When his son Sam let us know he was in hospital and dying it caused me to consider, and write down, what living in a house Bruce had designed meant to me. Much of it was to do with raising the children in the house – how it contributed to their appreciation of nature as the skies change and the southerlies blow in; how I have bought a day bed specifically to lie in the winter sun Bruce so cleverly arranged to pour into the house in winter. How my daughter (who loves the house and never wants to leave) and I look for patterns, faces and animals in the sandstock bricks. His influence has been profound as it was Bruce who ignited my interest in architecture and the two books that are a direct result of that interest. I was pleased that Sam got the opportunity to read the letter to his father before he died.
The house is built in a mixture of natural materials – sandstock brick, timber and glass and sits on a battle-axe block amongst the angophoras.
One of Rickards main concerns was the connection between indoors and out an so the house is designed to open up to the surrounding garden in summer and close up to be cosy and protective in winter.