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  7. Elm & Willow House / Architects EAT

Elm & Willow House / Architects EAT

  • 01:00 - 17 March, 2010
Elm & Willow House / Architects EAT
Elm & Willow House / Architects EAT, © James Coombe
© James Coombe

© Earl Carter © Earl Carter © James Coombe © James Coombe +46

  • Architects

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • Architects

    Architects EAT
  • Project Team

    Albert Mo, James Coombe, Eid Goh
  • Structural Engineer

    R. Bliem & Associates
  • Landscaper

    Heath Landscape
  • Building Surveyor

    Building Strategies
  • Builder

    Sargant Construction
  • Area

    278.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. This project involves restoration and alteration to the existing Edwardian house, and the demolition and construction at the rear of a new addition. The transparency and openness of the new part is a deliberate counterpoint to the introverted Edwardian house with its dark central corridor. Our intention was to create an “inside is outside is inside” environment, where inside and outside spaces were interchangeable elements. The project evokes a certain reference to the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe, and many courtyard houses in Melbourne by McGlashan and Everist.

© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter

The two mature Elm and Willow became the constraints to the project. They informed the arrangement of our new addition, and together with passive solar orientation the result is a U-shaped plan enclosing a north-facing courtyard.

© James Coombe
© James Coombe

The structure is suspended over the ground to avoid damaging the critical root zones of the two trees. The concrete floor and roof slabs are meticulously detailed, with significant input from our structural engineer, to appear and feel light, floaty and airy - a dialectic relationship between weight and material. This quality is enhanced by a skeletal structure of “skin and bones”, in which the non load-bearing glass sliding windows become a mere breathing skin between occupants and the outside world.

© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter

Internal planning strategies were devoted to the spatial hierarchy, through interplay of inner and outer, and sequencing of spaces. The link between the old and new is merged into the layering of spaces where inside and outside become one – the transparency of the borders separating interior and exterior allows the eye to perceive other elements that create the spatial order: fences, trees, stones, woods, clouds and borrowed landscape.

© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter

The addition has a passive ventilation system, whereby louver windows promote cross ventilation. The building materials specified are non-toxic and from renewable resources. The concrete structure provides thermal mass to the house with the slabs further insulated to minimise heat loss. All glazing is double-glazed to provide comfort to the interior, and the deciduous trees provide essential shading to the house during summer. Energy and water-saving fittings have been used throughout and rain water is harvested for use in the gardens. A new carport with grid-connect solar power panels is in the design process.

© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter

It was a total of 3 years from the first meeting with the clients to the day they moved back into the house, during which the construction took 18 months. The clients found passion in designing their gardens and their first child was also born during construction. It is a house for enjoyment, living amongst the landscape with family, and the appreciation of tranquillity, intimacy and sanctuary - which were all part of the original brief.

© James Coombe
© James Coombe
Cite: "Elm & Willow House / Architects EAT" 17 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Jay Meyer · January 12, 2012

Elm & Willow House / Architects EAT | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Nadin Bukovo · November 18, 2011

?? ???? ?&#39?????? ???? ?? ????? ??? ????????????!

GPart1234 · October 23, 2014 08:32 PM

minimalist architecture is kind of what louie armstrong said when asked to define 'jazz' [paraphrasing], "...if you gotta explain'll never get it"!

Myllena Azevedo · November 17, 2010

Posso morrer de amores por essa casa agora? via @archdaily

Akihiro Kasagi · September 20, 2010

??????????????????Elm & Willow House via @archdaily

Nairo Neto · September 17, 2010
Rob · July 09, 2010

Very nice! Loving the bathroom too.

Can anyone shed some light on the dining table / chairs shown? – I must find them!

Yngve Hauge · April 09, 2010

RT @bluevertical Elm & Willow House by Architects EAT #architecture #interiordesign #minimalism #australia *love it!!

Olesya Balashova · April 09, 2010

RT @bluevertical: Elm & Willow House by Architects EAT #architecture #interiordesign #minimalism #australia *love it!!

bluevertical · April 09, 2010

Elm & Willow House by Architects EAT #architecture #interiordesign #minimalism #australia *love it!!

Holeyfield · March 21, 2010

RT @Bartonian: Elmm & Willow House / Architects EAT

fillelectrique · March 19, 2010

Love it! But it only has 2 (gorgeous) bathrooms. / RT @nicholaspatten: I&#39d Live Here: Elm & Willow House.

Luke&Phill · March 19, 2010 — Napasite si o?i na vrtu hiše restavrirane s konceptom, ki notranji in zunanji prostor prepleta v sinergi?no celoto.

Nicholas Patten · March 19, 2010

I&#39d Live Here: Elm & Willow House.

Stillthinking · March 19, 2010

Almost like living outdoors if you&#39re stylish, hip and modern RT @archdaily: Elm & Willow House / Architects EAT

Ian Barton · March 18, 2010

Elmm & Willow House / Architects EAT

joe klein · March 18, 2010

at lest the real-estate agent will have allot to talk about.

Joshua · March 18, 2010

Mies van der Rohe called, he wants hi- ah, never mind.

prkno · March 18, 2010

no isolation needed in australia?

that concrete roof slab will be radiating heat like even

Peter · March 19, 2010 12:14 PM


mima · March 18, 2010

the project doesn't get better by showing tons of photographs from the same thing from all imaginable angles...

FF · March 18, 2010

Fantastic-looking house.

Loosman · March 18, 2010

nightmare on elm and willow-
doctor farnsworth turns in her sleep...

bLogHouse · March 18, 2010 04:34 PM

agreed... and what's the point in doing a Mies, if the floor-to-ceiling glazing opens up to a 6' tall black fence?!
Wouldn't it be nice if the new structure is detached not only from the ground, but also from the old house?

k_behemot · March 18, 2010

fantastic job! very simple and not boring

xirclebox · March 18, 2010

Elm & Willow House / Architects EAT /cc @feedly

H23 · March 18, 2010

looks so cool~~


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© James Coombe

澳大利亚榆柳屋 / Architects EAT