Passive house for an environmentally conscious family.
Recreation of Northcote heritage house that presents the Fibonacci sequence through sedimentary materials.
Located in a heritage streetscape, this double-fronted Victorian timber house appears similar to its neighbours. However, past the original front rooms (a requirement from council that they be retained), the house opens up to reveal a Mediterranean-inspired contemporary home. And what appears as relatively modest to the street, conceals a large home which even includes a basement, not for cars but for the scientist owners’, computer gaming interests (a separate garage was provided at the rear accessed via a laneway).
While some clients come to the table with a few sketchy thoughts of what they think is required (functional/aesthetics or both), these clients were literally bubbling with excitement, and ideas. They were happy to explore them with Hindley & Co and immediately warmed to the idea of a Mediterranean-style two-storey extension with a curved passage that led to the main bedroom suite on the other side of the courtyard-style garden. And rather than simply creating a corridor, it became an opportunity to create a ‘journey’ where the experience is more akin to walking through a garden (with arched framed views along this corridor). The staircase, treated as a sculptural edifice, is a progressive experience of framed glimpses of the garden through slot windows that glow from the garden inwards, and leads to two children’s bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor.
The Mediterranean aesthetic appears throughout this house, including the kitchen with its curved bulkhead (also responding to council setback requirements) and curved island bench, with its sculptural fluted timber base and colourful terrazzo bench, highlighted by the dark maroon-coloured joinery. The overhead skylights bring additional light into the core of the floorplan. Spotted gum timber floors further add to the casual ambience. And to add depth, there’s an arched entry to the sienna orange butler’s pantry.
The owners had visited Barcelona and, as with most people, were captivated by Antoni Gaudi’s architecture, his adventurous use of colour and form. And as with their love of exploring his architecture, the couple was also keen to explore materials that could be included in this renovation - stones, rocks, types of finishes and more unusual materials that could potentially be used. The skylights in the kitchen, for example, will be lined with vibrant tiles, a technique also employed by Gaudi and one that brings additional coloured light into a space. And rather than the usual glass box that’s often employed, there’s a sense of spirit and adventure that immediately unfolds when the threshold of the original central passage is crossed.
- Stephen Crafti
This project is located on the lands of the Wurundjeri Peoples and we wish to acknowledge them as Traditional Custodians.