Text by Paul McGillick
Photography by Kraig Carlstrom
Published by Edition Axel Menges
C @ 2002
Australia may not, at first glance, seem a likely place for the principles and strategies of Scandinavian architecture to take root, but Alex Popov?s cosmopolitan provenance typifies the cultural eclecticism of the country.
Born in Shanghai to Russian parents, Popov moved to Australia a decade later and eventually completed his first degree in Sydney.
In 1968, however, he moved to Denmark where he completed a master?s degree in architecture and worked for Henning Larsen and JÃƒÂ¸rn Utzon before returning to Australia in 1982.
In Australia, where domestic architecture was for so long dominated by British models imported without adaptation, Popov is linked to a new wave of architects who have applied the principles of Scandinavian architecture to create an increasingly distinctive body of Australian domestic architecture.
Although the spirit of Scandinavian architecture is crucial, Popov?s work also assimilates equally important influences from China and Japan and ? most significantly ? the light, topography and bushland flora of Australia?s eastern seaboard.
Popov has discovered that the open forms and spirit of place which mark the Scandinavian tradition translate wonderfully to the very different landscape of Australia.
Best known for his domestic architecture, Popov celebrates the house as a home, a refuge from the world ? personalised, nurturing, reflective and soothing ?, a place which interfaces with the public domain, but then turns inward and away from the drama of the outside world.
Inside, Popov creates other, more tranquil, dramas. His homes are typically a series of separate, but inter-connected spaces, each with its own character. Outside, the house is meticulously sited to generate a harmony between the building and its natural context.
This emotional attachment to place, however, does not lead to vernacular sentimentalism. Popov is essentially a Modernist, his homes are invariably elegant and scrupulous in their detailing.
For many years Paul McGillick combined an academic career as a linguist with writing about the visual and performing arts. As series editor and producer with a national television weekly arts programme, he became increasingly involved with architecture and design, for example as editor of the leading Australian architecture and design journals, Monument and Indesign.
Hardcover: 144 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 0.60 x 12.02 x 9.94
Publisher: Edition Axel Menges