The Field House was proposed as a small guesthouse for visitors to ‘Inside Australia’ the compelling installation by British artist Anthony Gormley, that was commissioned as part of the 2002 Perth International Arts Festival. The building is intended to allow visitors to spend the night at the site enabling them to experience the artists work at dusk and dawn. Situated on the edge of a huge salt lake about 800km North West of Perth the project expresses a poetic reading of the landscape, an experience of a remote Australian climate combined with a directness of form and simple elegant gestures. Together the project becomes embedded in its context but clear in its intent, allowing the artwork to exist while being framed by the architecture.
The elongated form orientates itself toward the installation and to capture breezes off the lake. Sleeping accommodation is within a series of plywood clad straw-bale pods that open to the view. These sit as objects beneath a large parasol roof that serves as a freestanding canopy over the length of the building shading activity on the deck below. Cooking and eating occur in a communal space overlooking a deep plunge pool at which point the structure embraces an existing tree. The guesthouse has no air-conditioning and the extreme climate is mediated by the architecture’s simple environmental systems. Essentially a ‘Coolgardie Safe’ (a traditional outback fridge) the entire building is clad in hesian fabric which is kept wet by dripping water, when the breezes pass through the water they cool the ‘interior’ space.