This house is for an artist and his musician wife and their three young children. The site is in inner suburban Melbourne approximately 4 km from the CBD. There is an existing bluestone duplex at the front of the site that is Heritage listed. These are conditions that are unusual and refreshing for my office which has not dealt with the problem of a suburban house since Kew House of 1997.
For the past decade or more the houses we have produced have been free-standing in either the country or coastal regions of Victoria and so this project presented what were for all intents and purposes new problems to be solved, or more accurately old problems to be viewed with fresh eyes. Embedded in this condition was the belief that the houses I am producing are part of a continuum of thinking and the exploration of certain fundamental themes that are modified by the peculiar qualities that each client brings to the office and that each site offers me. The semiotics of codes – barcodes, gene codes, thumbprints exist in the plans of these buildings as simple plan gestures. Notions of discrete space are reinforced by these strategies.
Public and private realms are defined via these investigations rather than consciously considered and cultural overlaps between the traditional Japanese house and the traditional colonial house in the Australian context are a constant source of inspiration.