Rickard House I (later Evatt House)
date of completion:
51 Finlay Road, Warrawee, NSW
Residential / Houses (RES)
protection status/heritage listing
– Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Chapter) Register of Significant Buildings.
Often an architect’s first house offers a kind of laboratory to test the theories and practices learned throughout their early career, and it is fair to say the results are a reflection of the robustness and the methods employed in the laboratory. The stone and timber house describes the site, and the arrangement of spaces is inscribed in the spaces around the natural stone and timber. The glimpses of the sky and distant vistas within the house are no different to those outside the house.
The hearth is at the centre of the site, and the house and the functional elements of the house spiralled out from this centre, like a pinwheel where the ends touched and amplified a tension as well as a correspondence with the natural setting. There is a quality of youthful ambition evident here that exists also in Wright’s Usonian houses. And while Wright’s houses alienate the natural from the hand-made, Rickard does not, and this was central to Rickard’s concern throughout his practice. Rickard’s methods were indeed robust and remained central to his practice. The trajectory that is set out in his first work, permeates his last work, and survives as a work of international significance.
Text adapted from an entry by Peter Lonergan in Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape and Design 1925-1975, Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad (2019, Thames and Hudson).