Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Far, far from reality

"A man will turn over half a library to make one book."
~Samuel Johnson (quoted in James Boswell's Life of Johnson

Architects have been designing houses capable of surviving extreme bushfire conditions for 30 years - the proof is their survival. My interest in this subject was sparked in 1983, while researching my book Leaves of Iron on Sydney architect Glenn Murcutt. He constructed a dwelling for the painter Sydney Ball at Glenorie in a highly fire-prone section of bush on the ridge with a valley running up that would act as a natural chimney for fires. Murcutt designed water storage tanks with a diesel generator and pumps connected to agricultural sprinklers on the apex of the round corrugated roof. The house was built with steel framing and a corrugated iron exterior so it could be drenched in the event of a firestorm. Living in the bush