Page D1.2 . 31 May 2006                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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  • Down Under Houses
  • Buenos Aires Row
  • Abbott's Wharf Housing

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    Down Under Houses


    The house has two elements: a two-story main wing with guest bedrooms below and living rooms above, and an upper-level main bedroom which is linked by a cranked and rising glazed bridge, under which the landscape falls towards the sea. This bedroom reaches out over the bank into the tall beech trees, supported by a collection of leaning posts suggesting an instability and sense of movement appropriate to the owner's lifestyle.

    A concrete fireplace is expressed on the outside of the otherwise wood box to further suggest the sense of imbalance. To create a sense of comfort and avoid a brittle "newness," wide floorboards, which will quickly age, were combined with a variety of plywood linings, demolition hardwood beams and columns, and timber joinery.

    The house is beautifully "inhabited" by a collection of fine, well worn, mainly mid-20th-century furniture and light fittings. A variety of window proportions and positions ensures an interesting range of connections to the sea immediately below, and to the middle distance views across the bay.

    East Melbourne Residence

    This three-level town house in East Melbourne, Australia, was built in the early 1990s as urban infill but suffered from poor design and substandard finishes. The building was divided into small rooms and lacked daylight in the ground-floor living areas. There was also a serious problem with heat gain from the east and west elevations during the summer. Access to the rear garden was via a single door at the end of a light well.

    On the positive side, the property boasted a good-sized rear garden and a double garage off a rear right-of-way. The renovation objective for Inarc Architects was to provide unimpeded views into the rear courtyard garden from the living areas. They relocated the kitchen to the front of the house and moved the laundry to the basement.

    The courtyard garden has become an extension of the living space with a large sliding glass panel connecting the interior with the redesigned exterior. The clean, open plan of the ground floor was achieved by supporting the southeast corner of the first and second stories with a series of transfer beams.

    The first-story floor of the original light well was removed to create the three-level skylit atrium. The installation of motorized external aluminum louvers has substantially cut down the heat load on the east and west elevations. All the existing wood-framed windows were replaced with aluminum-framed, double-glazed units. This promotes heat retention in winter and also significantly reduces the ambient traffic noise.

    On the ground floor, a polished bluestone floor acts as a heat sink in the winter when exposed to the morning sun and also acts as a unifying element over the three changes of level from the front entry door to the rear sitting area.

    Milsons Point Apartment

    The client's charge to architects Stanic Harding Pty. Ltd. was to transform a poorly planned apartment in a former multistory office building in Milsons Point. The existing condition denied the occupants connections to views and light by stacking bedrooms along most of the perimeter. The kitchen was also effectively disconnected from the dining area and the narrow living space by being tucked into the rear of the apartment.

    The architects' response was to strip the apartment back to its bare shell, allowing major replanning to encompass the new requirements of a considered entry sequence, connection to sky, light and view, and the separation of public and private spaces.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    In the Seresin House, by Pete Bossley Architects, the main bedroom on "walking posts" is linked to the house by a glazed bridge.
    Photo: Paul McCredie

    ArchWeek Image

    A variety of heights and volumes articulates the interior spaces.
    Photo: Paul McCredie

    ArchWeek Image

    Main bedroom with fireplace and bay beyond.
    Photo: Paul McCredie

    ArchWeek Image

    East Melbourne (Australia) residence designed by Inarc Architects.
    Photo: Peter Clarke/ Latitude Group

    ArchWeek Image

    Dining area looking toward the kitchen.
    Photo: Peter Clarke/ Latitude Group

    ArchWeek Image

    Living area, dining area beyond.
    Photo: Peter Clarke/ Latitude Group

    ArchWeek Image

    East Melbourne residence floor plans.
    Image: Inarc Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Home office, as seen from stairwell.
    Photo: Peter Clarke/ Latitude Group


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