Located in Torquay, Victoria, Australia, Torquay House (2012) by Wolveridge Architects | The Hardt
Located in Torquay, Victoria, Australia, Torquay House (2012) by Wolveridge Architects. This project attempts to challenge our traditional notions of how buildings can exist both in a coastal environment and in this case also the context of an emerging built form and character. In coastal conditions, buildings must be robust and defy the elements, yet create protective spaces, both internal and external which for us allow the occupants to feel safe, comfortable, privacy and enjoyment of good times. Whether the occupants are fulltime residents or weekenders, the beach house is a place to look forward to arriving, whether in the heat of the summer or the winter’s cold. With excellent views to the north and south and a conscious motivation to avoid the east/west outlooks, this project evolved as a series of interconnected and robustly finished containers. Each prescribed to a rigid set of rules and the relationship and spaces between containers becoming essential to the program and to the life of the building. The robust mass of the buildings is intended to be offset by the expression of finely considered detail and proportion. It is the private spaces created in between that allow natural ventilation and light, intimate outlooks, and privacy for the occupants, a place to call home.
© Derek Swalwell
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Blairgowrie Back Beach (2013) by Wolveridge Architects situated in Blairgowrie VIC, Australia | The Hardt
Blairgowrie Back Beach (2013) by Wolveridge Architects situated in Blairgowrie VIC, Australia. The clients for this project approached us around Easter in 2011. They are a young family from the city who had purchased this terrific sloping allotment just five minutes’ walk from back beach along Bass Strait. The landform was dominated by an awkward contour and it was clear that the site was halfway up a dune. The block to the west was the top of the dune and the vacant block to the east was the bottom. There was native vegetation, but it was sporadic and insignificant. We were briefed to provide a family home that would give plenty of outdoor space and play area for the kids and their friends, but most importantly the brief insisted that the feel of the house be quite divorced from reminders of life in the city. We studied the landform and we studied the planning requirements. We then prepared a building envelope, placing the dwelling as far to the rear (south) of the lot as possible, providing a terrific expanse of open space to the north. By the time we pushed the form back, it was significantly elevated.
As the founding materials are sand, we undertook a major rethink of the landform and the site’s contours by excavating under the dwelling area to create a large undercroft and lower ground floor rumpus area and used that fill to create a north facing quadrangle at the upper level. The result is an apparent single story, low slung dwelling on arrival. A further challenge contemplated the public aspect. The road is located north of the site, therefore a driveway for car parking and arrivals needed to consider how we might plan to make this open space private. We employed a permeable but physical barrier dissecting the public and private aspects of the dwelling. The form of the barrier, a series of free-standing steel sheets with 100mm gaps exists as a sculptural element in the landscape, evoking images of the found object. Access to the dwelling is external, via a garden path defined by a further device, a line of pillars constructed from rammed earth also emerging as objects in the landscape, seemingly molded by the conditions over time. This element clearly defines the public and private realms, yet provides crossovers and transitional spaces in the form of a sandpit, an outdoor shower area, and landscape planting zones. The dwelling itself is conceived over four main modules. Two main living zones separated by a services zone which is located directly over the rumpus room below. The fourth module is the semi roofed external living area, linking the dwelling interior with the landscape. The clients embraced a robust approach to the design of the dwelling. The plan form is rectilinear, with hallways wide enough for kids to ride their bikes. A second linking bbq deck completes the circuit. The materials are generally recycled timbers, with blackened plywood walls, a black ceiling which encourages the enjoyment of light and the externally framed views of the landscape. The bathrooms are glossy heat treated mild steel which reflects the color of the mosaic tiled floors and the shafts of light from the skylights. At night, the sheets imbue a warmth in the reflection of incandescent light.
One of the owners grew up in Eltham, a rural bushland retreat east of the city in a house designed by Alistair Knox. The imagery portrayed by the client of a childhood memory growing up in a Knox dwelling had a significant impact on the project. We considered the use of breeze block and concrete block to provide reminders and links back to notions of the surf clubhouse. Through the development of the design, these elements became more refined with the use of rammed earth and the implementation of laser cut screens employing one of the common motifs of the breeze block.
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Outdistance, the first solo show by my friend and prominent architecture photographer, Derek Swalwell. Shot entirely in Italy | The Hardt
Outdistance, the first solo show by my friend and prominent architecture photographer, Derek Swalwell. Shot entirely in Italy, Swalwell takes an intimate look at the works of famed architects Carlo Scarpa, Aldo Rossi and Carlo Aymonino to uncover a new narrative around these historically significant locations.
Through his curious lens and precise composition, Outdistance pays an extraordinary tribute to these design greats, focusing in on the details whilst capturing the magnetic dance between architecture and light.
Derek’s work has featured in a magnitude of design and architecture books and magazines across the world, including Architectural Digest (USA), Architectural Digest (MEX), Vogue Living, Architectural Review, Architecture Australia, Elle Decor to name a few.
Architecture has always been a fascination for me, and I think one of the contributing factors was my time traveling and seeing architectural innovation from across the world. I became interested in how the light worked through buildings. The way that the design of a building contributes to it’s changing throughout the day upon their trajectory of the sun.”
– Derek Swalwell
Learn more about Derek Swalwell and his latest work here
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CASA-FABER by ONG & ONG Pte Ltd located in Singapore | The Hardt
CASA-FABER by ONG & ONG Pte located in Singapore. Reclining within an exclusive node in western Singapore, CASA-FABER looks perfectly suited to its luxurious surroundings: at home, among the quaint bungalows of this cozy enclave. This personalized residence was designed to meet the specific needs of the client, where his two main considerations were family and friends. Working on the land of considerable size, the design team chose to realign the new house on one side of the site. This decision optimized the use of space, with the new design that allows the inclusion of a garden and a training pool. The architects approached this project with an underlying design spirit that was subtle but distinctive, where flowing lines and careful selection of material culminate in an elegant design with undeniably bold touches. CASA-FABER presents two rectangular volumes stacked one on top of the other, forming the core of the residence. A façade of sand-colored wood panels lines the entrance hall, separating the stone-lined driveway from the training pool and the outer deck just behind. Made of zirconium wood, the façade in the entrance hall presents for the first time the wood motif that manifests itself throughout CASA-FABER.
The entrance hall recedes to reveal the spectacular living room. Trying to erase the boundary between the interior and exterior spaces, the architects designed a system of retractable glass windows that could slide and fold with great ease, providing versatility to the space. The living room easily changes from the outdoors to the enclosed glass, as the interior falls effortlessly to the outside, which gives CASA-FABER an extraordinary visual flow. The garden spaces that join the outer edges of the CASA-FABER house bleed into the cool pool of blue and attractive tiles, covered with wood, creating a surprising juxtaposition of colors and textures. The familiar wooden motif of the entrance is repeated, framing a panel that hides a work of art of good taste: delimiting the spacious living room of the adjoining kitchen area. The deployment of these panels reveals the true dream of a chef. The elegant and dark stone and tile finishes work to animate the space, where a striking kitchen island dominates the room. The high-end kitchen facilities are elegantly arranged since space was conceived as a culinary laboratory where the resident chef of the family can turn all kinds of gastronomic fantasy into an appetizing reality. A spectacular sculptural staircase occupies the double volume space, which connects the different levels of CASA-FABER. Manufactured from a bent black sheet, The staircase is used to separate the common areas of the basement and the ground floor of the private rooms on the upper level. As the guests head to the entertainment area of the cavernous basement, leaving the upper floor strictly for the family.
The foot of the black and geometric staircase lands in the basement of CASA-FABER, where sheet metal, textured concrete, strips of wood and rough gravel provide a lot of character to the underground space. An ingenious Zen-inspired rock garden accentuates the landing area, accentuated by natural light filtering in from the complex window that lines the top staircase. The basement comes fully loaded with a state-of-the-art entertainment system. With a professional quality winery, as well as a 3.6 m2 reinforced concrete shelter reinforced with 300 mm thick concrete, the subterranean lair emanates a majestic sense of contemporary avant-garde. A neon pink sign adorns the central dark stone wall, with the wise inscription that recalls all that, “Happiness is expensive.” Crossing the upper floor, the rooms above are best described as luxurious and spacious. Both junior suites have an en-suite bathroom and a dressing room, while the master bedroom was designed to evoke an open feeling. The large floor-to-ceiling windows are a prominent feature of the master bedroom that offers a panoramic view surrounding the neighborhood. Abundant natural light and cross ventilation permeate the space, as the skylights carefully located in the master bathroom and dressing room incorporate the bedroom spaces with a bright and airy feel.
The green spaces in the shower and toilet in the master bathroom not only provide an organic touch but also serve as natural air wells that mitigate internal circulation. The final feature, and perhaps the most striking one, found in the CASA-FABER residence is the perforated metal mesh screen that covers the second floor. Giving the property a high sense of privacy, the aluminum screen hides the housing of neighboring houses nearby. With the unmistakable silhouette of a lush wooded forest, the screen not only acts as a shield against the heat and glare of the sun but also presents a tantalizing interplay of light and shade throughout the day.
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Fairbairn House (2013) by Inglis Architects located in Melbourne, Australia | The Hardt
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 neighboring 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.
© Derek Swalwell