Located in Allens Rivulet, Australia, Allens Rivulet House (2009) by Room 11 | The Hardt
Located in Allens Rivulet, Australia, Allens Rivulet House (2009) by Room 11. A defined grid relating to the various uses set the kitchen at its center, becoming slightly deformed as rooms were angled towards particular views. Revolving around this hardt the house eventually lifts to peer over the first level ring and towards Mt Wellington. Voids allow the hardt to be visible from various spaces within the house. The compact plan is extended via the positioning of voids and linked external areas. Internal and external spaces are blurred at one extreme and highly contained in others.
The house has a duality of character and experience defined by the way it responds to context and use. On approach its angular and severe form is a toughened abstract container, bracing itself against the robust Tasmanian landscape and weather conditions. Passing through the “hollowed out” portals, the warm and sheltering underbelly is exposed and acts as a protective envelope. These areas of in-between, outside but surrounded by the building’s form, are a result of a considered approach to outdoor living within typical Tasmanian weather condition, ie “4 seasons in one day”. They allow one to sit in the sunshine but avoid the cold winter wind, or alternatively sit outdoors and avoid the harsh high UV summer sun. The spaces shift from fully enclosed to semi-enclosed, with roof and without, culminating in a roof deck for maximum exposure and view
The client’s wish for the kitchen to be the heart of the home generated the internal layout. A defined grid relating to the various uses set the kitchen at its center, becoming slightly deformed as rooms were angled towards particular views. Revolving around this heart the house eventually lifts to peer over the first level ring and towards Mt Wellington. Voids allow the heart to be visible from various spaces within the house. The compact plan is extended via the positioning of voids and linked external areas. Internal and external spaces are blurred at one extreme and highly contained in others. Dark metallic cladding was employed for low maintenance and to allow the building to recede into the shadows of the hill-scape when viewed from afar. Entry points and areas for outdoor living were conceptually cleaved out of the metallic box and lined with “warm” timber. The house employs a suspended concrete slab through the living area for thermal mass, absorbing the heat transferred through glass walls to the north. Natural ventilation operates via airflow through the connecting adjacent tree voids.
Photos by Ben Hosking
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The New Old by Jessica Liew located in Melbourne, Australia | The Hardt
The New Old by Jessica Liew located in Melbourne, Australia. The New Old by Jessica Liew located in Melbourne, Australia. This contemporary residence designed by Jessica Liew in 2012 is located in inner city Melbourne, Australia. It maximizes a relatively small 4,144 ft² (385m²) site providing bright but private living spaces. Designed with honesty, natural, light, texture, simplicity, privacy in mind. A house that maximizes a relatively small 4,144 ft² (385 m²) site in inner city Melbourne, providing bright but private living spaces. There is simple, relaxed feel about this house, loaded with character from the natural materials used including concrete, recycled tumbled bricks and hardwood timber. These provide an honesty and rawness so rarely seen these days – an antithesis to the glitz, luxe, and glamour often seen in a popular magazine and tv programs. To the architect/owner, the aim was to build a relaxed, private home that was energy efficient, practical and imbued with a character from the all-natural materials used – complementing their extensive collection of art and antiquities from their travels. The result is remarkable. A home that has outwitted even other architects who have mistaken it for a renovation, rather than a newly-built dwelling on what was previously the neighbor’s tennis court.
Accommodation: double story dwelling comprising formal living, library, cellar, study, casual living and dining, separate laundry, rumpus, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 3 car accommodation. 6-star energy rated: double glazed windows and skylights, double hung ceilings, double insulated stud walls, reverse brick veneer walls, underground water tank, hydronic slab heating, recycled bricks, custom double height pile wool carpet, regenerative hardwood timbers throughout. ‘Switchable’ spaces including a study turning into a guest bedroom (murphy bed); rumpus or second study on level 1; and studio or 3rd bedroom upstairs.
A courtyard sized to a car space for future additional parking requirement. Hidden storage and joinery throughout. Custom steel framed glass pivot doors replacing a conventional front door, the recessed floor mat is the only give away. Antique Chinese screen doors framing the fishpond corridor, mural by celebrated Melbourne street artists Ghostpatrol and Miso; retention of the original chain wire mesh tennis court fencing and tennis court roller; all rooms feature a garden, fishpond or courtyard aspect. Honesty: respect and transparency for all natural materials used – predominant palette comprising black concrete, white painted tumbled bricks and natural timber finish waiting to age with the house.
The Hill House (2012) by Andrew Maynard Architects situated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Melbourne is predominately flat, so in order to build a cantilevering cliff house, you must manufacture the needed landscape for such a project, which the architect obviously did. Design is complex. There is little that is more complex to design than a home, however, fundamental issues offer an architect a starting point; where is the sun? How do we capture it in winter, how do we exclude it in summer? The thin allotments that dominate Melbourne’s northern suburbs often provide indomitable constraints to solar access and therefore require the production of unorthodox ideas to overcome these constraints and convert them into opportunities.
The site faces north, therefore, relegating the backyard, the family’s primary outdoor space, to shadow throughout the year. In the 90s a two-story extension was added reducing solar access even further while creating deep dark space within the house. A family of five wished to create a long-term home, which could meet the requirements of three small children and their slow transformation into young adults over the years.
Rather than repeating past mistakes and extending from the rear in a new configuration, the proposal was to build a new structure on the rear boundary, the southern edge of the block, upon the footprint of what had been, until now, the backyard. The new structure faces the sun employing passive solar gain. Saturating itself with sunlight. The new structure faces the original house. The backyard is now the centre of the house activated by the built form around it. The old house is converted into “the kids’ house”. The old house is as it once was. The rear of the simple masonry structure, though spatially connected, is not reoriented, a face is deliberately not applied. It is left honest and robust. With a restrained piece of “street art” to be applied.
Thomson street no longer provides the main entrance to the home. The family now enters via the lane from Stanley Street. The original house, now private dormitory spaces, no longer have a typical relationship to the Thomson Street’s “front” door. The original house, as with most narrow blocks throughout Melbourne, demanded that visitors walked a long corridor past bedrooms to the living area. Stolen quick glances into dark private spaces always occurred along the journey. At the Hill House, the entry is reorientated. The kitchen, the nerve centre, the hub of the house, is the new greeting point. Beyond is the park. Adjacent is the living space, the yard and the “kids’ house” beyond. Following the decision to build at the rear of the block a ubiquitous modern box was first imagined. Soon it seemed necessary to pursue the opportunity to activate this new, once shaded, now sunny facade. A seat along the new northern facade? Perhaps a series of steps like the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti? But how does one lounge in the sun on steps? Perhaps a slope instead… And the hill house evolved/emerged.
Andrew is from Tasmania, a place dominated by its landscape. Built form is secondary and subservient to the landscape. Melbourne is predominantly flat. Could this be why Melbourne’s architecture is adventurous? There is no landscape to confine therefore building is free to become landscape. Hill House is a response to this possibility. Melbourne is flat. If one is to explore the possibility of cantilevering off a cliff (a desire of many architects) one is forced to manufacture that landscape. A monolithic form is unsheathed from the hill and placed atop. A celebration of the synthetic, the manufactured. A simulacrum of both an undulating landscape and the pure architectural form. Strategically the architectural celebration of the pure cantilevered form acts pragmatically as the passive solar eave to the outdoor space below, cutting out summer sun while letting winter sun flood in. It works even better than we thought it would. Overlooking generates many awkward responses. Windows must be above head height rather than looking at the neighbours. The Hill House uses this to its advantage. The benefit of the structure being in the backyard is that it borrows landscaping from its neighbours’ gardens. The high windows about the entertainment cabinetry and the dining area are enveloped in trees. Internally one gets the sense that Hill House is enveloped by bush rather than part of the suburban mix.
Rescode is subverted and used as the catalyst rather than the compromise. Building in the rear of the yard requires a protected circulation path which, by necessity, generates a wall along the entire boundary. The code dictates that a boundary cannot be completely walled, however, it can be completely fenced. A 2m high fence was created, but unlike most houses, the hill house has a one-meter wide fence; a corridor lowered into the site to achieve head height. This in turn creates a lowered dining area. One rises into the living space. The change in floor level creates a bench seat for the Maynard designed ZERO WASTE TABLE. Steel not only provides a solution for the architectural form explored, it is also the primary celebrated material within the small strategic palette applied. The black monolith is a continuous, full height steel truss. The monolith cantilevers more than it is grounded in the hill. The central truss is celebrated in the living space. The entire load of the second storey travels down the deliberately fragile tri-post in the dining area. The concealed steel posts beside the kitchen counter-intuitively tie down the monolith, stopping it from falling forward, rather than taking the downward load. The roofing is white colourbond, used strategically to reduce thermal load. The kitchen benches are steel, used deliberately as it is both robust and slowly revealing a beautiful patina of age. The hood around the hill opening is slender, strong steel plate clinically inserted. The door here pivots, seemingly defying gravity. The stair, the doors and the windows are all steel. From the large and robust to the fine and detailed, steel has been celebrated as both a structural solution and anaesthetic.
Hill House is far more sustainable than the first appearance suggests. It is a deliberate attempt to avoid any aestheticizing of the project’s sustainable credentials. The whole strategy was to get the house in the backyard to face the sun and to get passive solar performing optimally. All windows are double glazed and LowE coated. Low VOC plywood and farmed class one spotted gum line the internal walls of the building. The yard is water efficient – the use of synthetic grass with strategically placed garden patches create dense areas of planting, resulting in very little demand for water. Long strips of windows to the East and West have been equipped with operable louvres. The north-facing facade consists of an entire wall of the same mechanically-operated louvres, providing the option of controlling cross-winds and sunlight. The grass on the hill envelops the ground floor in an additional layer of insulation; it is a thermal roof blanket, installed to supplement the existing insulation of the building structure beneath whilst also protecting the roof membrane. A white roof is used throughout to increase solar reflectance, sustainably reducing heat gain within the house.
Fairbairn House (2013) by Inglis Architects located in Melbourne, Australia. The site on which the house was built presented its own set of intricacies and opportunities. The narrow site is bound by houses on either side but is fortunate to face parks at both the front and the rear. This rare find in inner city Melbourne is initially what attracted the client. The small site is located in a suburb where house and land sizes are traditionally big. The client wanted to create a generous house that was spatially in keeping with those in the area. A simple architectural language of masonry, timber & stone was enlisted for the house. The materials are exposed for what they are, chosen for their unique character and pushed to their physical extents. Whether through brick perforated screens, steel cantilevers or custom timber claddings.
There was great emphasis placed on the front façade due to the house being infill between neighbouring buildings. It was our ambition that the house engaged with its environment and the individual. A key strategy employed to do this involved layering up the front elevation to the street to create depth as opposed to a flat facade. The house presents itself to the public and does not seek refuge behind a fence. Whilst doing so it only hints of its inner workings through materiality allowing a mounting of suspense. The breezeway brick screen is a key device and creates these necessary layers. It serves multiple purposes. The first being a strong idea of entry by creating a secondary landscaped space which gives the property a sense of intimacy.
The steel entry canopy folds out between the screen welcoming you and it’s at this point that there is a mental and physical threshold where one moves from the public to the private. The second purpose was to create a permanent privacy screen for the Master bedroom which was situated at the front of the house so that it could engage with the adjacent park. From the exterior the architectural language purposely allows the building to interact with its environment. Exaggerated cantilevered steel beams frame views and the expansive timber cladding acts a blank canvas for the changing shadows that it creates.
Upon entry to the house, it was our ambition to create a feeling of generosity through space and materiality. This was done by reducing the uses of the ground floor. The living area was naturally located at the rear of the site to embrace the park. This allowed for the bedrooms to be elevated to the treetops on the first floor and created privacy whilst retaining views. The client’s spatial needs meant the building’s envelope spread from boundary to boundary. It was, therefore, important to enliven the program of the house and this was achieved by the insertion of a courtyard. This brought life to the plan, landscape inside the house whilst also allowing Northern light to penetrate the floorplan over the two stories.
The house is refreshing. It requires minimal furnishing to feel warm and hospitable due to the soft natural finishes. The floorboards, stone and masonry here are on show and the light fittings and furniture are purposefully simple and pared back allowing the interiors to breathe. It feels raw whilst achieving elegance through composition, texture, volume light and program.
St Vincents Place Residence by B.E. Architecture located in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia | The Hardt
St Vincents Place Residence by B.E. Architecture located in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. As a modern renaissance home, the St Vincents Place Residence is a new archetype developed through reinterpretation of classical references with a modern sensibility. The client, as a patron, put his belief in architecture, artists, and artisans to create a nourishing environment that goes beyond surface treatments by inscribing contemplative experiences into the physical form. Positioned behind a significant heritage façade, the new extension is a cultural bridge between historical significance and modern progress. Embracing the consideration of time, the design response examines pinnacles of architecture and design throughout history. It recreates original elements that extract and expand upon qualities of substance, inspired by those that are proven to span the test of time. Although the majority of the home is a new building, it is not immediately recognizable as such.
The reworking of older-style details in the front section of the original building includes curved cornices, arched doors, and custom steel fireplaces, which are not typical modern construction methodologies but feel at ease within the Victorian frontage. Integral to the details is an authentic demonstration of the unusual level of craftsmanship, an appreciation of the capacity of mankind. Even the smallest of details, like the hand-stained dovetail joints along the timber skirting, is deserving of a moment’s reflection.
The modern counterpart in the rear extension uses in-situ concrete, terrazzo style stone floors, painted timber ceilings and bluestone walling to create a point of difference from the front. Rejecting stark minimalism, the classical details are exchanged for rich textures continuing the hand-hewn character throughout the house. Leading the way to intellectual discourse, the substantial art collection explores topics of philosophy, literature, religion and even science. At moments these are literally written into the walls, such as the three-story light-well built around the lightwork Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens by artist Nathan Coley and the niche installation of the wax sculpture Romeu ‘my deer’ by artist Berlinde De Bruyckere. As carefully curated as the art collection, the interior of the house is an eclectic mix covering diverse cultural references across many eras. Many of the rooms are positioned around knowledge, encasing collections of books on expansive shelves and using them as a centerpiece within the custom coffee table in the living room.
A refined, casual aesthetic is created, incorporating unique vintage pieces sourced from Europe and Asia as a direct historic reference. Each piece adds to the dialogue of the space with exotic and interesting stories of when or where they are from or how they were created. Many of the pieces are one-of-a-kind designs by B.E Architecture, commissioned expressly for this project, pushing the artisanal character of the architectural detailing into the furniture. Combining history, art, and culture, the St Vincents Place Residence is ultimately a place of rebirth, simultaneously reviving an exceptional period home and cultivating a place of renewal that elevates the quality of life for the client.
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East Melbourne Terrace House (2016) by Wolveridge Architects located in East Melbourne, Australia | The Hardt
Love the materials being used at East Melbourne Terrace House (2016) by Wolveridge Architects located in East Melbourne, Australia. Replanning the ground and first floors while reinterpreting their various functions became fundamental to the way the occupants live and work in their home. East Melbourne Terrace also offers its owners the promise of proximity to work and an inner-urban lifestyle easily accessible on foot. While the interior and rear exterior have been transformed sensitively yet strikingly, the new elements have been born from the existing bones, referencing these heritage elements and celebrating the longevity of their nineteenth-century form.
The renovation of a dark terrace house has resulted in a contemporary, light-filled home with striking timber elements and comfortable connections to nature. Originally, myriad small rooms were clustered at the front of the house, creating a series of thoroughfares through which to travel from one space to another. A lounge room accessed immediately off the entry seemed caught in the rabbit warren, with two points of access into the room. To resolve this, Jerry closed the hallway door with a continuation of the solid wall, giving privacy to the room while defining the entry space as a separate vestibule. The original staircase ascending to the second floor was re-carpeted and given new timber handrails, reinvigorating the stair as an arresting sculpture in all its dark timber glory.
The cluster of ground-floor rooms was reconfigured, creating a guest bedroom and powder room, while a grand drawing room was designed adjacent to the stair. Tall, steel-framed windows were punched through the south-facing external wall, creating picture windows between the skirting and cornice to frame a small bamboo garden. The existing fireplace was wrapped by tall, dark veneer joinery panels, emphasizing the height and scale of the room and referencing proportions typical of late-nineteenth-century residential architecture. The journey from the existing house to the rear extension is taken through a low glass passage, framed on two sides by dark-stained timber battens. Behind the vertical wall of timber, natural light is filtered through to the new guest bedroom window, while a small garden and a courtyard sit either side and soften the external edges. Incorporating garden outlooks is an important element in Jerry’s built work and design philosophy.
Replanning the ground and first floors while reinterpreting their various functions became fundamental to the way the occupants live and work in their home. East Melbourne Terrace also offers its owners the promise of proximity to work and an inner-urban lifestyle easily accessible on foot. While the interior and rear exterior have been transformed sensitively yet strikingly, the new elements have been born from the existing bones, referencing these heritage elements and celebrating the longevity of their nineteenth-century form.
Photos by Derek Swalwell
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The Loft by Architects EAT located in Australia | The Hardt
The Loft by Architects EAT located in Australia. “The loft – built inside the iconic MacRobertson chocolate factory in Melbourne‘s Fitzroy is a conversion of a gritty 2,690 ft² (250 m²) brick warehouse into a family home. Architects EAT have manipulated the former industrial building into a mixture of intimately scaled family spaces and vast entertaining voids. Two full height courtyards act as the lungs of the design, bringing both light and sky views deep into the internal space. The private areas such as the study and the bedroom are accommodated on the first floor, inside volumes of a more intimate scale.” The 125-year-old warehouse is now mostly residential, although the site was previously an advertising agency before the current owners purchased it. Before that, it was Melbourne’s first Akido Dojo martial arts studio. The architects made a huge effort to respect the building’s rich past, with initial plans often changing to suit on-site findings. The steel bridge made from a perforated base and stringers, connecting the upstairs mezzanine on either side of the loft, is especially compelling.
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