Text description provided by the architects. The Glen Iris House is a two storey modern extension to a Californian Bungalow on a good sized block in suburban Melbourne. The original weatherboard house sits on a sloping site and is elevated at the front and level with the ground at the back with no relationship to the outside.
When we visited the site for the first time we were immediately drawn to the beautiful leafy backyard that meandered down towards the house. The sloping land was terraced and formalised through dry stone walls: this gave us the inspiration to extend the old house by adding a new design that reflected the natural environment it was sitting in. As a result we developed a building that is terraced following the slope of the site and is directly linked to the backyard. From the original house you step up into the dining room, and then up into the lounge, from the lounge outside onto a paved area. The paving is enclosed by a seat height dry stone wall that marks the enclosure of the built area. From there you step up onto the lawn making the backyard the destination of an upwards journey through the house.
The internal zoning is clear and simple. The old house at the front belongs to the children with three bedrooms, bathroom and a play area. From the children’s wing you enter the communal living areas on the new ground floor. The dining room forms the centre of the residence and is separated from the lounge by the kitchen. On the first floor of the new building is the parents’ wing with master bedroom, dressing room, ensuite and study. From the master bedroom you can access a roof terrace that provides views over the backyard.
The clients chose us after having seen a few of our projects and were attracted to the quality of light, the different characters of varying spaces, the use of materials and detailing. As in all of our projects we paid attention to these aspects of the building: the light is balanced, we utilise the effect of shadows that the sun creates; the different relationships between spacers are explored: the dining room downstairs and study upstairs are connected through a void, the stair to the master bedroom is ‘hidden’ behind the kitchen giving a sense of privacy for the parents wing, dining and lounge are enclosed by a curved wall which in itself creates a communal outdoor dining area.
We paid attention to details: concrete sits against a timber floor, walls slip past each other and the external timber cladding is articulated in different ways. Building form and facade were developed to evoke the qualities of a tree and become part of the tree filled backyard itself.