The enigmatic union between function, form and feeling. From my earliest childhood memories of home to my love affair with the single-front cottage and all those moments between and after. The humble buildings destined for history, each of them pulling me in. The grand buildings that become iconic markers of memory.

We live in times when the criterion for truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive. We have moved so far along a spectrum of reasoning and rationality that we have forgotten what it is to feel when in a space—the pleasure of giving in to a moment in time without understanding. The indefinable features arising from form and function that can imbue intimacy of architecture; are the emotion. They are immaterial and impossible to measure. Yet never far away and easy to evoke in the memorandum.

Reflecting on times past by Nicole Cullinan

The year was 1988. It was the year I reached my majority but not the year I left my childhood behind, that didn’t happen until much later.
A violin hung in place of a light, it was dark, the room enveloped. The carpet was itchy; but we lay there together; smoking and listening to Edith Piaf, drunk on life. The walls were close, the room was square, the coals were hot, and time stood still, my languorous gaze resting upon the intricate ceiling.
This single front Victorian house belonged to artists, the parents of my friend, although they didn’t live there. Only my musician friend Enrico resided permanently; along with a transient population of wanderers and well-wishers. I don’t know what ever became of Enrico. I remember the house and the record. The first album for their band. The End. I recall the band name because it was in that house I got to name their first album, ‘The beginning of The End’. I’ve often pondered the poetic lyricism of the meaning in that. There was an ever present melody in the air that was accompanied by the musty scent of age. A lingering reminder that many had lived there before.
The house was enchanting. I loved the separation of spaces, each of them defined by my level of altered consciousness. The room for slumber, the room for bathing, the room for eating and the room of imaginings. That was the room with the fire, the possibility for that which radiates. The patterns in the pressed metal ceiling, delicate and fragile, embedded in tin, robust and strong. It was the emphasis on form that was captured in my mind. The lack of function seemed irrelevant at the time; although years later when this house was the embodiment of my dream home I made sure we had an internal bathroom.

The intimacy of that space is forever etched in my memory, unable to be removed by time. The unique buildings, the ones on my ‘next time’ list. The icons you have to share with everyone, each of us jostling for our moment of observation and noticing everything, although not explicitly looking for something.

The joy of finding a building that inspires feeling, losing myself in the moment, not sure if I have possessed it or it has consumed me. I relish those times, cognisant they are fleeting. That space where you want to stay for a while. The intimacy of architecture.

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