Tom Uren House, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia : 34˚ S : 1988-92
Tom Uren, died aged 93 in January 2015, he was a battler long before the term was appropriated, a product of working-class Sydney by the time he was elected to the federal House of Representatives as the Labor member for Reid in 1958, Uren had been a labourer in a variety of jobs, a boxer, a prisoner of war, a store manager and a shopkeeper.
Below is the text written by Richard Leplastrier for the small book published in association with the award of the 2004 'Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award'
"Tom Uren is a big man. He is always fighting for the underdog. He was a peoples' representative in the Labour Government for over thirty years. He set up the Heritage Register of the National Estate. And much more. Though retired he continues to work politically. This house gathers about a high top-lit central room - here he talks with people. Four simple rooms gather about and open off the corners of the square. The central axis through this internal square connects a small garden in the rear through to a view across the harbour towards Balls Head. His small studio sits separately like a boat shed on a masonry core looking into a small garden.
He lives here happily with wife Christine and young daughter Ruby. The structure is post and beam, recycled hardwood, fully retrievable for future use, beautifully made by John Simpson, a long time trusted friend and collaborator. Lloyd Rees, the great landscape painter, when visiting Tom, admiring the singularity of the building, said 'What else is a city, if it's not a gallery of beautiful buildings?' "
Words from ‘Richard Leplastrier : Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award 2004’ published by Rakennustieto Finland 2004.
Recent photos : Michael Nicholson courtesy of Modern House. Plans courtesy of Modern House.