Architects: Two Feathers
- Area: 120 m²
- Year: 2018
- Client: Mary Featherston
- Engineering: Perrett Simpson
- Lead Designer: Julian Featherston
- Design Team: Vicky Tu, Mary Featherston, Julian Featherston
- City: Melbourne
- Country: Australia
Text description provided by the architects. Featherston Studio is part of a larger building of heritage significance designed for Mary and Grant Featherston by Robin Boyd in the late 1960s. Mary previously occupied the larger house which is experimental and has very successfully supported the family and working life over 50 years. The adventure, amenity, and joy of that house form much of the provocation for this new home for Mary. She remains an adventurous occupant, eager to experiment with spaces and solutions.
The design brief called for occupant-oriented design, radical openness, flexibility, risk, and experimentation. An emotional space of subtle calm harmony, connecting discrete settings in a singular volume. The human experience is enhanced by immediate, generous and uninterrupted views of the natural environment constantly animated by changing light and sound experienced as part of every activity. A luminous ambiance with natural light diffused by a translucent ceiling and bouncing off a seamless matt white floor and warm face brick walls.
Strong forms without embellishments. A contemporary interior with a minimal palette of warm neutral, subtly complex materials. Finely detailed and furnished providing a clean, coherent and unobtrusive background for all the stuff of living and working. Those elements of the brief originate in the previous house. However, this project also presented freedom to pursue ideas we had long wanted to explore.
Accompanying the desire for connection to nature was the idea of an active building, intelligent and aware of its environment and able to respond autonomously. Two Feathers developed algorithms, using live weather forecast data to determine future comfortable interior ranges. Autonomous decisions are made by the software, deploying external blinds, mechanical extraction fans, and commercial heat pump systems. These work together, modulating visual experience, minimising energy consumption and increasing occupant comfort.
Minimal visual mass and explicit design expose most of the building's structure. Modern industrial design software enables this structure to be structurally analysed and visually refined simultaneously. Extensive use was made of commercial materials including structural use of glass in stairs and balustrades. Laminated glass stair stringers support minimal treads and a landing, floating above an internal garden.
This project indeed provided an opportunity for adventure and learning. Overwhelming the risks paid dividends, others proved more work was required, all contributed greatly to the outcome.
Two Feathers specialize in making it practical to design, document and fabricate very challenging building elements. Most of our work involves consulting to commercial built environment project teams. We use industrial design software to model at a high level of detail. This allows us to marry aesthetics, structure, lighting, and climate control while working with very challenging geometric and packaging problems.