Ema Scott reflects on the ideas and process behind her father designing their beloved family home that was also his last ever project
The daughter of legendary architect John Scott discusses his last design
Your father created a home that feels intimate and calm. How did he do that?
Although humble, our home also has an understated sense of elegance, poise – peacefulness even. It has nothing to do with the expensive this or that, or the plushness of that fabric, or the glamour of that other thing. The intimacy and calmness people experience here belies the artistry of the architecture, the materials used, the aspect of the property, the huge trees that surround us, the proximity to the beach and the river, the mauri of the property, the fact that our family has been here for five generations… A book could be written about it.
You spent many hours in discussion with John about the design for this house – that must be special time, in hindsight?
We witnessed our father working all hours of the day and night. The silent solitude that can extend and expand time in the wee small hours he would occupy working. Our home was just one of over 300 structures he designed in his lifetime, but ours was to be his last (so you might be able to feel how fortunate we feel). We witnessed the careful consideration that went into every detail. His plans were edited, refined, honed and pared down to the essential.
Do you feel a sense of connection to him through the house?
Art and architecture create a bridge to the creator – and our home feels like that bridge. Every day we are intuitively informed, challenged and intrigued. Sometimes we are in awe but always we are in profound gratitude to live in this home he designed for us. So yes, our home will always connect us to him. Homes are like that, aren’t they, whether they have been architecturally designed by your dad or not?
How has your home affected you over the years?
The most profound way is that from living within a sculpture, I have become a sculptor of stone. The process is akin to what I observed my father doing – shaping, honing down to the essential, taking into account light, line, form, shape, feel and purpose. I have discovered an art form that allows me to access a deep sense of connection.
Words by: Simon Farrell-Green. Photography by: Paul McCredie. Video by: Melissa Tapper and Lakshmi Beresford.