Lead ArchitectLouise Wright, Mauro Baracco
Design TeamCatherine Horwill, Jonathan Ware
Text description provided by the architects. A new house for the Rose family combining two residences in one volume: a 2 bedroom terrace type house for the adult children and a 3 bedroom + study house for the parents.
In this house the Baracco+Wright Architects negotiate the complex site while hoping to create an enduring building with civic presence, extending the urban form of the historic crescent and also contributing to the typology of wedge shaped buildings on similar sites throughout the inner suburbs of Melbourne. This triangular shaped site also allowed the architects to carry on their exploration of simple geometries.
The building is triangular in shape, filling the site, with a curved ‘point’ to the narrow south elevation. It takes cues from the many triangular shaped buildings found throughout the area with a simple geometrical form and a shallow front setback and reinterprets the brick historical buildings of its setting with some interpretation of rounded Art Deco geometry.
The program consists of a smaller and larger house. The smaller house is designed using the terrace typology – at just over 5 metres wide and 30 metres long – it continues the street pattern of the side street through its entry, setback and house type. The larger house faces the corner and its entry is literally the corner of the site. The two houses are treated as one form.
The west facade is ‘solid’, punctuated sharply through few windows, presenting a 'hard' confident mass to the street. This condition disintegrates as the building moves around to its more intimate relationship with the reserve and busy street level (bike and pedestrian path) on the 'softer' east façade, where the materiality is a play of negative space, transparent mesh, pergola frames, reflection of trees in large windows and planting.
The form was also derived simultaneously with the aim to create interior spaces that were private but also highly connected to the site. The smaller house plan is open on the first floor – connecting the user to both the east and west views at once. In the larger house, the hit and miss brick work of the curved point creates a screened study, the undercroft space to the east creates a flexible outdoor yet sheltered space that mediates the ground floor living space to the reserve.
The use of a mesh curtain to enclose this space, which can be opened along its entire length, offers a generous sharing of spatial quality with the adjoining public space rather than a hard wall or garage door. This space is used recreationally but can also accommodate carparking.
The first floor band of windows creates a wide and continuous relationship with the park across the road around to the reserve. The use of a planning technique of spatial displacement rather than division (using the bathroom, or an internal core, to define space rather than division through partition walls and hallways), one is in touch with the perimeter as they move around. This technique has been explored in many of Baracco+Wright Architects’ projects as a key planning strategy. In this design, there is no ‘back’ or rear.
A roof deck sits discreetly within the roof line, taking advantage of an adjacent tree and adding to the varied type of outdoor spaces on offer. The garden has now grown up continuing the gardens of the side street with a layer of purple flowering plants that nod to the Jacaranda Trees of Edinburgh Gardens, a collaboration with the landscape architect Amanda Oliver.