Monday, December 31, 2007
A house fit for horrors
This is a time of year when bloggers should put aside the petty concerns of politics and consider instead matters of the Arts. So, following the example set by Mr Peter Cresswell, I shall indulge myself in a little architectural criticism.
The house pictured is the holiday home of one John Key, who is shown in the photograph. The house is one of several featured in an item from yesterday's Herald on Sunday, entitled, "Revealed: the holiday hideout of rich and famous." Mr Key, a retired foreign exchange dealer, is described by the paper as a "Prime-Minister-in-waiting."
Whilst he is waiting, Mr Key really should think about doing some gardening. I may be mistaken; perhaps the appearance of abandonment is newly fashionable among people of money; possibly Mr Key wishes to give the impression that he is too busy to spend time on personal concerns. Maybe he holds to Green principles and wishes to let his plot of land grow naturally, without human intervention. Or perhaps he has simple tastes and prefers weeds to flowers. But I think not. He should find a landscape gardener immediately, before people think he is the sort of man who would leave a car on his front lawn.
His gardener, if she has taste, will suggest tactfully that the garden be adorned with fast-growing trees, perhaps Leylandii or even Pinus Radiata. It is imperative that the house be concealed from public gaze as soon as possible. For there is only one word that can adequately describe this immodest abode and that is "vulgar."
It is difficult to know where to begin. Here is a house (described somewhat disingenuously by the Herald as a "bach") which has the appearance of a miniature office building. Rather than its present location at Omaha Beach, its design suits it to a business park on the outskirts of the city, conveniently near major transport hubs. The reader should note the extravagant and charmless cornice, apparently supported by massive piers, as well as the floor-to-ceiling windows in tinted glass. The reader should note these and resolve never to have a home with these features; unless, that is, he should wish to have regular visits from photocopier salesmen, for surely they will flock to his door.
Should one be visiting Mr Key in his holiday home, whether to attempt to sell office products or for social reasons, it would be very bad form to tap one of those seemingly weighty piers. It would chime like a bell. The piers must be hollow, since the wooden deck which apparently supports and surrounds them could not bear the weight of so much masonry. Wits might observe that this is a hollow house for a hollow man.
Fortunately, one can see little of the interior through the tinted glass. One suspects that it would contain a white leather lounge suite, on which Mr Key would relax with half a glass of Chablis while listening to Air Supply's Greatest Hits on the Bang and Olufson. One imagines the bookshelves, if there are any, would contain works by John Grisham and Dean Koontz. Doubtless, the walls are adorned with paintings of sailing boats, done in a pseudo-impressionist style.
If only, for the sake of this nation's reputation abroad, one could say that Mr Key had inherited this unfortunate state of affairs. But, as he never ceases to tell us, Mr Key was brought up in a State house, one which probably was a much better work of architecture than this. All this, apparently, is Mr Key's work. He bought the empty plot seventeen years past for a mere $147,000; with the house, it is worth $2.95 Million. The choice of design was his own, as is the location: Success Court.
I would continue, but readers of this blog are men and women of delicate aesthetic sensibilities. Instead, I shall wish you all a happy New Year.