It is the view of TERROIR that in this interconnected global circumstance, architecture cannot rely on a fixed and singular cultural condition but needs to engage with complex interconnected and overlapping systems. An effective role architecture can play in this context is to ask questions of those relationships and to make propositions about those relations specific to the multiple contexts gathered in any one project.. The important point here is that for TERROIR, the architectural project is not the buildings themselves but the discussions, lectures, research, exhibitions and explorations that work through these issues. The built projects then hope to reveal this architectural vision.
terroir evolved out of a series of discussions regarding the potency of the threshold to inform our relation both to an external, physical space and an internal psychological one. We understand this threshold not just as a developed boundary condition that moderates light, temperature and moisture between inside and out, but as a potent psychological and cultural condition. Ultimately, this threshold is a metaphor for our place of origin - Tasmania - a place that through its physical isolation is amplified as space of engagement and exchange - projection and introjection - between the world and ourselves.
A key characteristic of our partnership is the level of dialogue and exchange within the practice. The very nature of this collaboration defines our practice of one where the notion of "discourse" is central to the work. Thus, while we search for essences and meanings in our existence and in the nature of society in general, our method is not based in introspection but in conversation and collaboration. Given Australia's multicultural form, this discourse involves a hunger for the lessons of buildings from different cultures, and the possibilities of applying these lessons within our own context.
Diagram and Story
The search for a key story for each project - and a diagram upon which that story is played out - lies at the core of each work. If the generating idea arises from discourse - an intellectual, literary and observational process - then the story and diagram provides a formal narrative that bridges the a priori idea and the building itself. Most importantly, the diagram becomes a means of describing the formal territory established by each work and the sculptural and spatial dialogue between the building and its context. The "stripped" nature of these diagrams aspires to Kahn's understanding of the Greek ruin, stripped of the colour and detail once applied, becoming a pure and prototypical manifestation of the original work, "freed from the bondage of use".
terroir in the landscape
TERROIR understand the world as an ever evolving system - at both a spatial and ecological level - and which is subject to continual modification. Contemporary notions of "wilderness" are thus understood as a recent construct that does not preclude further intervention in these highly contested areas.
Tasmania has provided a rich environment in which to explore these ideas, with highly contested "wilderness" areas that have become the focus of a wealthy travel set searching for new and unique experiences but requiring a high level of amenity. The particular characteristics of Tasmania's sublime landscape - its uncanny quality, labyrinthine structure and unique formal characteristics - are used to drive formal and spatial interventions.