The original Housemuseum is a unique combination of private residence and private museum where 'museum' and 'living' are brought together in a single building. Understood to be the first purpose-built residence and museum, in 2010, Larry's List named the Housemuseum 'one of the world's 10 most exciting buildings of private museums'.
The Housemuseum is open to the public for pre-booked tours and events on designated days each year.
Designed by architect and collector Corbett Lyon, the Housemuseum builds on a long lineage of private art collections housed and displayed in residential settings including Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, New York’s Frick Collection, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and London's Wallace Collection. Lyon coined the term housemuseum to describe his newly created hybrid architectural type.
The Housemuseum exhibits works of contemporary art, architecture and design including selected works from the Lyon Collection. The Collection includes paintings, sculpture, video work and installations by many of Australia's leading contemporary artists, and is considered one of the largest and most significant of its type in the country, offering insights into Australian contemporary art practice from the early 1990s through to the present.
Artworks and artefacts are presented throughout the Housemuseum in a sequence of flowing spaces. Paintings, sculptures, large scaled installations and other artefacts are juxtaposed and intermingled with the living and domestic effects of the house.
Designed around a two storey 'white cube' at the front of the building and a two storey 'black cube' at the rear, these act as anchors for the building and display paintings, sculpture, video work and installations.
Family living areas flow around these two anchors, accommodating further artworks, architectural drawings and artefacts. Through this juxtaposition of art and living, the Housemuseum challenges conventional ideas of 'public' and 'private' and explores new relationships between art and the spaces in which it is viewed.