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Homes
Around The World

A House Made Of Views

Ravin Ponniah was not interested in taking cues. Having seen the small site that he had to work with for Damansara House, he knew that deferring to the existing architectural vernacular of Kuala Lumpur would be a fool’s errand. For the most part, these homes were compact and inward-looking, whereas his solution needed to be open and diversely traversable – even if this was asking a miracle on such a tightly restricted lot. The neighbours were close in this part of Damansara Heights – literally. In the year before the project began, new homes had been erected to both sides and rear of the site, from which Ravin’s clients wanted a significant setback. If wall-to-wall building was to be avoided, the footprint of Damansara House would need to be shrunk even more than its already tight allowance. And even if a balance could be struck between this desired setback and amenability for the occupants – a professional, local family of five – this still wouldn’t address the issue of view lines, which would be cut off by the encompassing residences. Just over a year ago, Ravin set up his own practice, Endeavour Land Sdn Bhd, to experiment with problems of exactly this type. Having worked and studied in both London and Kuala Lumpur – including two research degrees at Cambridge, one of which focused specifically on affordable housing – he has spent much of his architectural career trying to address what has “gone wrong” with liveable, low-cost housing in Malaysia. Damansara House Enedeavour Land Lounge room “[Damansara House] isn’t expensive, but it isn’t an example of affordable housing either,” says Ravin. “Why we do these one-off projects is to experiment with innovation and then apply these results to high-density housing that is more affordable. “The brief was essentially to create a series of functional spaces that had to be incorporated within this small space. [The clients] really wanted the house to be a bit disjointed, but at the same time be meaningfully integrated. Normally, an architect’s response is a case of being sympathetic or respectful of the context. Here, we tried, but there wasn’t really anything of design value that we found in the existing context. Our response was to bring experimentation and innovation to the project, and to find our own solution.” The first experiment involved securing additional space to compensate for the setback. Endeavour Land managed to argue for another level on top of existing plans, which allowed only for two tight floors with “a very limited attic space”. This extra space increased the plan by 40 per cent on the original, allowing the architect to not only incorporate a rooftop courtyard, but also to fit a functional gym into the home upon the clients’ request. Designed Tetris-like to fit its envelope, this gym is an exemplar of the whole-house approach taken by Ravin and his team: “The first thing, beyond the label given to us about what kinds of spaces were required, was to understand the outcome of these spaces,” he says. “We wanted to know very specifically the equipment they would use in these spaces – for instance, [with the gym], we went into detail of what machines they specifically wanted to fit inside, one of which was the request for a sauna. “Given the small space, integrating both the gym and the sauna was difficult. What we did do was to have a view through the glass sauna door out through the interstitial space, so you don’t have that claustrophobic feeling. Through that, it lines up with a view to the outside. It fulfils the brief, but in a way that is amenable to the client.” Damansara House Enedeavour Land Kitchen This outward-facing antidote to claustrophobia was what inspired Endeavour Land’s most ambitious idea: the slatted hardwood-and-steel screen that wraps around the building’s upper levels. Fitted with hinged panels that can be opened or closed to reveal the glass under layer, these slats mean that, even when the panels have been shut, light still penetrates the interior. Not to mention the successful and perennial integration of views. Thanks to the addition of the uppermost level – comprising an entertainment deck and balcony that completely opens out – occupants have access to sweeping views over the city, including of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic twin towers. What the lower levels lack in this department they make up for in greenery, which has been especially planted around the periphery. “Most Malaysian dwellings have fences; everyone has a fence and a gate and it’s very clear where the demarcation between public and private is,” explains Ravin. “Because we wanted to have all the open parts of the house on the lower level, we put all the dining and living spaces on the ground floor. You’re able to have all glass even in a tropical environment because that space is in shade all of the time, so you get the feeling of being in this tropical garden while also being inside. As soon as you move upstairs, you have this sensation of being in a timber cocoon. Psychologically, the screen is the most important aspect of Damansara House – small spaces can become claustrophobic, so [they need] to open up.” Endeavour Land Sdn Bhd endeavourland.com Photography by David Yeow Damansara House Enedeavour Land Balcony Damansara House Enedeavour Land Study Damansara House Enedeavour Land Bathroom Damansara House Enedeavour Land Entertainment area Damansara House Enedeavour Land Dining Damansara House Enedeavour Land Green wall Damansara House Enedeavour Land Swimming pool Damansara House Enedeavour Land Screens pool Damansara House Enedeavour Land Rear screens We think you might also like Chempenai House by WHBC Architectsabc
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A New Wave Of Nature-Driven Design

Buildings were born as protectors against the elements, creating a visible, physical boundary between mankind and both the real and imagined threats beyond its walls. In the 18th century, things shifted. The arrival of architectural concepts like Marc-Antoine Laugier’s Primitive – which stated that the ideal form embodies what is natural and intrinsic – emphasized the importance of connection between humans and their environment, and thus, the role of architecture in retaining it. But, somewhere along the way – in between the world’s first skyscraper and the Brutalist movement, no doubt – a disconnect between mankind and nature was realised. It is only recently that the importance of the outdoors as a gateway to a healthier, happier life has been rediscovered by the mainstream. Architects have led this charge – devising natural landscape design ideas that not only cater to the environment, but are integrally influenced by the landscape that surrounds them.   For practical reasons – work commitments, family, the list goes on – not many of us can trade in our urban surroundings in favour of a more bucolic lifestyle. It is, then, the challenge of inner-city architecture to establish a connection to nature in other ways. In short, we work with what we have, and considering the design savvy of city-based teams like MAKE Architecture, what we have is plenty. Located in the inner-city suburb of Abbotsford in Victoria, Perimeter House is a product of its environment. Surrounded by brick factories, businesses and warehouses, the team at MAKE Architecture – commissioned to take on the redesign of the old weatherboard Victorian cottage and build a contemporary extension – were opportunistic in making the most of the site’s charged industrial context. “The potential was for a house that offered all the qualities of domesticity; refuge, seclusion and calm, but that was bound by the unique characteristics of Abbotsford’s industrial history,” says Emily Watson, Associate at MAKE. First of the natural landscape design ideas was a white brick perimeter condition; an expanded edge that wraps around the site boundary and creates a courtyard to facilitate indoor-outdoor living. “The new brick facade of the house directly references that local industrial vernacular whilst gently alluding to its residential typology through the placing of openings and the pitched roof at the site’s northern end,” explains Emily. The rest of the design also goes to great lengths to connect the building to its environs. The rooftop terrace provides intriguing sights of the surrounding landscape via its perforated brick screen walls. The framed, curated views to the nearby tree canopies, as well as the interplay of light and shadows created by the screening, both artfully connects to and subsequently distances the inhabitant from the locale. The result is a secluded yet enriching refuge for inner-city dwellers. [gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="71857,71855,71854"] Photography by Peter Bennetts   Designs that utilise natural light to make a statement are of course, nothing new. Daylight remains one of the simpler ways architects can introduce a sense of wildness and reflect the greater landscape in urban dwellings with little space to work with. Kurt Crisp, the Co-Founder and Director of buckandsimple, explains his adoption of natural landscape design ideas. “When designing to a compact site … we try and create private and social areas depending on the surrounding environment and its influence on the site,” Kurt says. “Where an area is viewed from and the quality of light it receives will determine the use of that area and how we will integrate it into the design,” he adds. When making the alterations and additions to Whyte House, a semi-detached, heritage-listed home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Kurt and the buckandsimple team installed a large teak window box portal in response to the area’s exposure to daylight and to provide more expansive garden views. [gallery size="medium" columns="2" ids="71848,71847"]     Outside of the city, architects have more opportunity to be not just aesthetically geared towards the landscape, but environmentally driven too. Mountford Architects took great lengths to root a Western Australian build in the site’s original fabric, and took home the award for Small Project Architecture in the Australian Institute of Architecture for their efforts. Sussex Street House in Maylands, Western Australia, was built for a single dweller under the guiding principles of comfort, sustainability and long-term affordability. “The client was well versed in ESD [Ecologically Sustainable Development] principles and sought an architectural solution that would make use of as many of the block’s natural resources as possible and consider ‘ordinary materials imaginatively,’” tells Ben Mountford, principal architect and owner of Mountford Architects. The home is low impact and low maintenance; permaculture gardens sit among existing trees, allowing solar penetration in winter and shade in summer. Natural ventilation is promoted inside too, where thermal mass, sun shades, high ceilings and open-plan interiors moderates temperature. [gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="71861,71860,71859,71858"] Photography by Stephen Nicholls   While some natural landscape design ideas look to actively harmonise with the environment, others complicate the conversation. Fish Creek House is the latter. Devised by Edition Office, the building sits within an expansive rural setting with views of farmland and the Wilsons Promontory coastline in Gippsland to the east. At first glance, the home’s harsh form operates in opposition to its landscape, but as Aaron Roberts, Director of Edition Office, explains – that’s not the whole story. “In responding to an Australian landscape condition, we see it as vital that a conversation or an emotional dialogue emerge between house, landscape and the occupier,” he tells. “In this regard, the house has been intentionally designed to appear as both dissonant to its site, and deeply sympathetic to it.” Rooted in discussions of landscape, these spaces are striking – yet often unexpected – products of their surroundings. For all their differences, they are designs that pioneer Laugier would almost certainly tip his hat to. [gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="71851,71850,71852,71849"] Photography courtesy of each respective studio We think you might also like modular architecture by Modscapeabc
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Is This Melbourne’s Tiniest Café?

Miniscule coffee shops are scattered throughout Melbourne town, with new specialty brew joints springing up almost overnight to fill any available space. Tulip Coffee in Degraves Street, the CBD’s chief café corridor, is one such hole in the wall. Previously a milliner’s pop-up store, at only 25 square metres, it was a challenging space to plan. “Early on, the client asked us if we thought something that small would work – and to be honest, we really weren’t sure!” says Anna Drummond, director at Melbourne-based practice, CoLAB Design Studio. “It seemed like it would be a squeeze to design something that would tick all the boxes.” Nevertheless, the tenancy was secured, and the client enlisted the help of CoLAB with a seed of an idea. Named for the shape of a traditional coffee cup, CoLAB’s interpretation of the ‘Tulip’ brand translated naturally to a soft pink interior. This blush palette extends to the natural timber tones in fluted cedar panelling, and custom concrete including flecks of pink quartz. Signature Cloche wall lights from Porcelain Bear and delicate Japanese Artedomus tiles – which are “just like lollies” to Anna – combine with a honed Rosa Verona marble bench top to further emphasise the café’s tactile warmth. The brand mascot, appearing as a line drawing on staff aprons, is a caricature of a rescue greyhound owned by the client’s friend, coincidentally also called Tulip. The overall effect capitalises on the venue’s pint-sized frontage to focus in on the joy of coffee, and elevate small details. “Degraves Street is just such a unique location. I think that’s what makes it so special, that everything in that little alley is on such a different, compact scale,” says Anna. But perhaps the most amazing aspect of Tulip Coffee is that it was built by the client himself, in only a matter of weeks. “No, he’s not a builder by trade – he literally bought power tools, got on YouTube and figured out how to do it!” says Anna. “He’s one of those people who is unfairly talented at whatever he puts his mind to.” It must be said that Anna is no slouch either. In the six years since she and practice partner Trish Turner founded the studio, the team’s portfolio has run the gamut of design projects from high end residential, interior concepts for multi-residential developers, public mallscapes, small boutique workplaces, and the “fun, creative stuff,” of hospitality and retail design. Certainly a lot in the works for a team of only three, including senior designer Imogene Mitchell. “We have a good understanding of each other’s strengths, and we’ve all got different skills so there’s not much of a hierarchy,” says Anna. “It’s lovely – it does feel a bit like working with your sisters.” CoLAB Design Studio colabdesignstudio.com.au Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Booth Front facade Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Booth Interior view Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Booth Countertop Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Booth Coffee machine Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Booth seating Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Lighting Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Table Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Bar area Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Booth Coat hangers Tulip Cafe CoLab Design Studio Booth Leather detailabc
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ARC - Feature

Exotic Infill

When harangued drivers take the Wellington Street rat-run between Dandenong and St Kilda roads in Melbourne, there are a few choice words on the tips of their tongues, but ‘exotic’ probably isn’t one of them. Yet, if they slowed down for a second, they might notice a house that’s just that. In between the low-rise office buildings, nondescript blocks of flats, and freestanding houses converted to consulting rooms, an extraordinary new house has appeared, six metres wide, five storeys high, the likes of which we’d expect to see in Tokyo or Amsterdam, but not in Melbourne and certainly not on this street. The house was designed by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design in collaboration with their clients, a builder and an interior designer. Having bought and renovated several suburban homes, the clients were interested in a new challenge and a different kind of lifestyle. The Wellington Street site, then occupied by an old house being used as an office, had been on the market for months, and the clients would drive past it every day on the way to their youngest daughter’s school. Eventually, perhaps inevitably, the idea for a new way of life and the opportunity represented by a house that wouldn’t sell coalesced. Wellington Street Photography by Shannon McGrath Living To the architects, the block of land they had to work with must’ve appeared, well, small. Particularly when they were handed a brief for a home to accommodate the clients and their daughter as well as two adult children, each with a partner. But for the bold, constraints generate opportunities, and Matt Gibson and his team saw this project as a chance to explore a new model for Australian living. From the street, the house appears as a series of zinc-and-glass boxes, stacked in two columns, some set back and others brought forward. The boxes break down the visual bulk of the building, and create a modular rhythm that resonates with the more human-scaled grain of terrace houses on the other side of the street. The ground floor is given over to car parking and an office, the latter a compromise with council to allow a residence to be built on land previously zoned as commercial (hence the project being called the Mixed Use House). As a result, the entry to the house is on the first floor, at the top of a narrow external stairway at the western edge of the site. After the original brick house was demolished, its own western boundary wall was rebuilt. This silhouette of the old house screens the neighbouring apartments, and the warmth and texture of the brickwork help the entry to read more clearly as residential. Climbing the stairway – the space constricted between the brick wall and the house, open sky above – visitors’ eyes are drawn inexorably upward. It’s a fitting precursor for the experience inside the home. At the top of the stairs, a pivot door delivers visitors into an open-plan kitchen anchored by an incredibly long marble island bench. The kitchen flows through to a dining zone and into a living area, with fantastic views down into the neighbouring park and out over the traffic of Dandenong Road. But again the eyes are drawn upward. The kitchen sits at the base of a large atrium, designed to bring natural light deep into the heart of the home. The prevailing colour palette of whites and pale greys maximizes every ray of sun, and the entire volume is awash with light. Except for the few hours on summer days when panels slide across the glass roof to block the hot sun, the light here is soft and seemingly all-pervasive. For new arrivals subconsciously anticipating a skinny house split into four discrete floors, wringing every last square metre out of the building’s small footprint, the effect of the light and the sense of spatial generosity are surprising and delightful. Wellington Street Photography by Shannon McGrath Kitchen A core element of the brief, at the instigation of the two adult children, was that the house must bring family members together. For them, the idea of multigenerational living was about having independence and flexibility but also sharing their lives with their broader family. To this end, each level in the house looks out into the void over balustrades and through windows, across to other spaces and down to the kitchen. And each is zoned according to different modes of occupation: the first floor is the communal zone; the second and third floors comprise bedrooms and discrete living zones for the smaller “family units”; and the fourth floor is described as a “retreat” (although surely it’s also the “party zone” – there’s a lounge/media room, a roof terrace with panoramic views of the city and surrounding skyline, and a well-stocked galley bar and kitchenette). The extreme verticality of the house demanded an elevator, but there are also two stairways. One ascends from the first floor to the second, a sculptural insertion into the atrium and angular counterpoint to the rectilinear geometry of the kitchen bench. The second connects the upper three floors via a single, long flight of timber treads. Sandwiched between high walls, with a sliver of glazed roofing overhead, it offers a sensory reprise of the narrow entry stair and its tension between horizontal constraint and vertical expansion. The experience of climbing these stairs is emblematic of the house as a whole: it offers myriad moments like this, different spaces, different feelings; volumes expand and contract; circulation paths turn corners and open into different rooms; spaces are arranged around each other and flow together, to create connections and separation, but not segregation. In the context of Melbourne’s well-documented challenges around population growth and housing affordability, the Mixed Use House offers a model for greater residential density and multigenerational living that is anathema to the glut of low-quality, small apartments currently being served up as a solution. It’s a bespoke architectural project, so it can’t exactly be rolled out across the city, but the thinking at its core can be applied wherever there’s a fissure in the urban fabric, even in places not currently thought of as appropriate for housing. We just need more landowners and more councils to be bold and look for opportunities when they see constraints. And then perhaps a house like this one won’t seem quite so exotic. Photography by Shannon McGrath Wellington Street Photography by Shannon McGrath Atrium Wellington Street Photography by Shannon McGrath Break out area Wellington Street Photography by Shannon McGrath Balcony Wellington Street Photography by Shannon McGrath Glass Facadeabc
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Julie White Is Making Australiana Cool

You could say Julie White was destined to be an artist. She grew up amongst the Australian landscape surrounded by fabric, scrap paper and parents who made things, had a nonna who taught her to sew, and learnt from a young age that “if you want something, you can make it yourself”. “I’ve always loved the idea you can create something from nothing,” she says, “[and] build a sort of world around you from your imagination.” Which is exactly what she’s done in the form of hand-drawn printed textiles and her eponymous brand. After studying fashion design at TAFE, followed later by completing a Masters of printed textile design at the Glasgow School of Art, Julie has been making silk scarves and specialty socks full time since 2015. Her accessories are fun; they’re inventive, cheeky, full of colour and clearly the product of a curious imagination. “My style will always be an exploration,” she says. “I start by searching for a feeling. Sometimes it’s been there for a long time and it’s a process of remembering. Other times there’s the inkling of a new feeling and you need to coax it out. That’s the most fun. That’s when I enjoy it the most.” Julie White Photography by Emmanline Zaneli Sunshine scarf What does seem to stick throughout her designs, however, is reference to native flora, fauna and the Australian landscape. While nature has always been her main source of inspiration, it wasn’t until doing her Masters that Julie began looking specifically to Australian flora and fauna, spurred on by a homesickness from living in the UK, and made this central to her now signature style of bold, colourful, playful designs. In her latest collection, Gone Troppo, Julie continues to build on the “tradition of contemporary Australiana”, albeit leaning positively toward the tropics thanks to her recent move to the beach. After years looking to the bush, Julie suddenly found herself in a new environment and “affected by the change of scenery”. What used to be “remote and exotic”, fascinating but out reach, is now on her doorstep and, it seems, perfect new material. “I think [the previous distance to the tropical landscape] allowed me to approach the theme with a sense of fantasy,” she says, “it’s really been a chance for me to indulge my imagination.” Creating designs based on nature doesn’t look to be changing any time soon either. As Julie says, “I feel like I could spend a lifetime exploring [contemporary Australiana] – continuing to define what it means to me. I’m excited by the potential of what it could be, and new ways of seeing it.” Julie White juliewhite.com.au Photography by Emmaline Zanelli Creative direction and styling by Sharmonie Cockayne Julie White Photography by Emmanline Zaneli Yellow scarf Julie White Photography by Emmanline Zaneli Pink scarf Julie White Photography by Emmanline Zaneli Gone Troppo Julie White Photography by Emmanline Zaneli Gone Troppo 3 Julie White Photography by Emmanline Zaneli Gone Troppo Socks We think you might also like the 5 Contemporary Australian and New Zealand Textile Designers You Need to Knowabc
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ARC - Feature

An Architectural Disappearing Act

Sometimes, architecture is more about what’s around it than the architecture itself. And often, when this happens, it counter-intuitively highlights the skill and humility of an architect who is able to recognise the potential of a site. Jingshan Hotel is a project that started with an architect’s deep engagement with site. Located on the ridge of the Jing-Shan Mountain in Japan – the same mountain where the Zen tea ceremony originated – the land was endowed not only with a natural beauty but also with a rich history of acquiescence to it. The last building that stood there was a two-storey San-Ho-Yuan-style dormitory, a traditional Chinese and Taiwanese building consisting of three building sections wrapped concavely around a central courtyard. In the heart of this courtyard stood an ancient pine tree whose dense canopy covered half of the outdoors space and some of the building. When architect Jiu-jiang Fan and his practice, Continuation Studio, was brought on board for Jingshan, the first thing he identified as crucial was the preservation of the “deep historical and cultural ambiance”. “As a result, to preserve the courtyard structure as well as the ancient pine, in order to generate its potential spatial spirit, [was] established as our design proposition,” says Jiu-jiang. Jiu-jiang and his team of architects undertook an extensive study of the landscape and let it inform their process. Every subsequent design decision made by Continuation Studio was with a view to letting light, views and air into the hotel. This resulted, for example, in the decision to reduce the height of the building’s west side to one storey. Not only did this open up the outlines of distant hills, it also “induces the sunset nearly horizontally into the courtyard, sprinkling the main façade”. The interior of Jingshan Hotel itself is equally reliant upon natural light, where it is delicately controlled with eaves, water, colonnades, grilles, skylines and a variety of other carefully placed design elements. As guests ascend through the levels of the hotel, different layers of light come into view, from the “dark and obscure” lighting of the lower levels to the “bright and modern” levels above. Eventually, guests reach the “acme of brightness on the roof terrace, where only the sky and the pine canopy are in sight, from which the artificial beings of architecture simultaneously disappear”. Jingshan Hotel Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Facade This inclination towards nature – what Jiu-jiang describes as an attempt “to enhance the prospect of [a] ‘Zen temple’” – is evident in the symbolism that’s been etched into the architecture and planning of the site – even before guests reach the hotel. “The imagery of ‘mountain’ has been implied all along the experience process,” he explains. “It is revealed in the actual mountain climbing required before entering the hotel, as well as in the tour path inside that resembles a walk in [the] mountains. “The design method regarding the viewing experience focuses on the notion of sitting ‘face-to-face’ with nature. Both the ritualistic perspective angles and the axis of the courtyard intrigue beholders to ponder the relation between ‘nature’ and ‘humanity’. [Even] the use of natural materials on site – such as wood, stone, iron, white paint and glass – implies the ‘naturality’ and ‘rurality’ that lies in architectural renovation.” Continuation Studio Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Jingshan Hotel Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Stairs Jingshan Hotel Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Foyer Jingshan Hotel Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Balcony Jingshan Hotel Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Courtyard view Jingshan Hotel Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Bedroom skylight Jingshan Hotel Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Public terrace Jingshan Hotel Photography by SHIROMIO Studio Mountain path We think you might also like Blossom Dreams Hotel by Co Direction Interior Designabc
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A Focus On Flexibility

Japanese architecture has always had a focus on flexibility when it comes to residential building. With their keen sense for and appreciation of nature, neighbourhood and community, dwellings are often tailor-made to residents. Houses are built to suit each client’s needs. When a homebuyer purchases an existing residential lot, many choose to demolish and rebuild instead of remodel, preferring a clean slate from which future dreams can be built. While the prospect of designing and building one’s own home is an exciting one, it is even more so when the land is new and fresh with possibilities. Thus when a fairly new, large-scale residential area opened up in Southern Kyoto, a young couple deemed it the perfect location to settle down as they looked forward to enjoying life’s new opportunities. The area rests on the south-eastern slope of a hill, while the site itself offers unfettered views of rolling hills on the horizon. They were expecting a new addition to their family and the home would allow them to enjoy excellent views of the borrowed landscape while tending to their growing family. Newtown House Photography by Yohei Sakura Staircase They reached out to architects Kohei Yukawa and Hiroto Kawaguchi, who collaborated on the design of the house by taking into account the couple’s needs for privacy, as well as creating open spaces that would be able to foster interaction between family members as they commune with nature. The house itself is a metaphor for the distant mountain range, with its basic roofline comprising three singular mountains, bound together as one, paying homage to the view. Divided into three and encased within its large wooden windows lies the heart of the house, which the architects call “everyone’s house”. Within it is a hall that allows for a continuous flow of activities. Much like a welcoming courtyard, the space feels open and light as one steps through its entrance. Inclined wooden ceilings and various elevations throughout create an airy space in which light reflects and bounces off unexpected nooks and corners. The warmth of this double-volume hall is enriched by wooden decking and panels that flow seamlessly from floor to roof. Elegant and flexible, the space can be transformed according to the function and needs of the family. Fluid elevational elements are peppered throughout spaces contained within Everyone’s House. Apart from separating spaces, these clever details are also used as chairs, tables and storage areas. It’s these daily interactions interspersed with light, wind and a sense of distance that create rich experiences for the homeowners. Newtown House Photography by Yohei Sakura Multi-purpose area The open nature of Everyone's House is in stark contrast to other houses in the vicinity that are more private and modest – guarded, almost – with a streetscape surrounded by walls and the occasional peppering of small, tight windows throughout. The house looks almost exotic – out of place and yet not so – with large framed wooden windows that lets a generous amount of light in. It offers the family an unhindered view of verdant mountain ridges towards the back of the house while maintaining a relaxed, open façade that faces the street. With its outstanding features, the house still resonates with the neighbourhood – privacy is maintained through asymmetrical solid structures flanking the giant wooden windows in a show of community solidarity. Private and working areas are arranged to the fringe of the house, as such they frame and support the hall, which is considered a public area. The master bedroom and children’s bedroom are located opposite each other, separated by the hall which also acts as a bridge between them. The second floor is reserved for the kitchen, living and dining area that opens up to a balcony. This mezzanine-like space takes full advantage of the open plan of the house, offering views that extend as far as the eye can see. The house is an allegory. It cocoons the family in its warmth while basking in the presence of surrounding hills. With these various overlapping themes, the architects reinterpret a house, its people, the town and landscape through reconstruction of space to create a relationship which would bring meaning to a family. Through the house, they are one and home. Photography by Yohei Sakura Newtown House Photography by Yohei Sakura Windows Newtown House Photography by Yohei Sakura Mezzanine Newtown House Photography by Yohei Sakura Facadeabc
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Sculptural Architecture And European Refinement

“This house reminds me of a refined motorcar,” says Rob Mills, principal of Rob Mills Architecture & Interiors. “They are pure in form, beautifully built, restrained in their detailing and they last for years.” The residence in Brighton, Melbourne, is home to an ambitious and successful couple that appreciates well-designed, well-built objects, and wanted a house that inspired and challenged them. Rob designed the house, a feat of sculptural architecture, like a contemporary version of a grand villa with pure and simple forms, strong geometries and a connection between indoors and out. The house is set back from the street with a forecourt in between. “All the grand houses have forecourts; it’s an idea used again and again throughout the history of architecture,” says Rob. The walk to the entrance also sets the tone for the experience of the house, and beyond the bronze front door the ground floor opens to a double-height entrance and long corridor with glimpses of the garden beyond. To the right is a sculpted, sweeping staircase (“the cylinder”, Rob calls it, aligning it with luxury car design), with a circular skylight above. The stairs lead down to the garage, cinema and cellar, and up to the bedrooms and bathrooms. Brighton Residence Photography by Earl Carter Entertainment area The living, working and entertaining spaces are configured along the western side of the house with a formal sitting room, study, and informal open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. Timber joinery partially divides each space and sliding walls allow for flexibility; opening and closing to separate or connect rooms. The western façade is glass and the living spaces look out to the surrounding garden and swimming pool, meeting the clients’ desire to feel part of the interior and exterior simultaneously. The pure, sculptural architecture of Brighton Residence is derived from the use of concrete, which contributes to the durability and performance of the building. Natural light enlivens and accentuates the architecture and interior spaces, and joinery and furnishings, such as Zaha Hadid’s undulating sofa, echo the forms of the house. Rob describes the home as masculine and powerful, and as with many grand houses it’s a house to be experienced. “It takes a strong character to live in this house,” he says. “But it is also calm and much gentler in person.” Rob Mills Architecture & Interiors robmills.com.au Photography by Earl Carter Dissection Information Zaha Hadid sofa from Space Furniture Lowe Furniture Timber dining table from Hub Furniture Flow Dining Chair By Mdf Italia from Hub Furniture Bocci light in stairwell from Hub Furniture Polished Concrete flooring Brighton Residence Photography by Earl Carter Swimming pool Brighton Residence Photography by Earl Carter Study Brighton Residence Photography by Earl Carter Kitchen Brighton Residence Photography by Earl Carter Hallway Brighton Residence Photography by Earl Carter Rendering Brighton Residence Photography by Earl Carter Light fixture Brighton Residence Photography by Earl Carter Facade We think you might also like Portsea Guesthouse by Mitsuori Architectsabc
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The Doonan Glasshouse – Finding Beauty in Simplicity

Designed in the signature style of architect Sarah Waller, who designed and built the house for her family, the Doonan Glasshouse features a stunning five bathrooms, all featuring Geberit concealed cisterns and black Sigma50 buttons; the ideal fixtures for the seamless look and sophisticated style Waller was after.

Award-Winning Bathroom Counts on Geberit

There is a seamless flow of spaces and rooms throughout the house and from the inside to the outdoors. The master bathroom, which features the same reduced colour palette as the living areas, won the HIA Queensland Bathroom of the Year Award in 2016. It extends to the outside where a freestanding bath surrounded by greenery creates a spa-like atmosphere. Throughout all of the five bathrooms in the home, Sarah specified Geberit concealed cisterns and black buttons. "I wanted black accessories that go with my monochromatic colour palette, which was not that popular four years ago when I planned the house. But I knew Geberit from the UK and chose the Sigma50 buttons," Sarah says. She particularly likes that Geberit's extensive range offers architects design freedom and choices. "I selected the brushed finish for my buttons, as it is easy to clean and there are no fingerprints visible after using it." From an architectural point of view, she prefers the back-to-wall, concealed cisterns, Geberit Sigma50, as they contribute to her paired-back mid-century modern style and make any bathroom look more spacious. As the homeowner, she loves the fact that there are no ledges or shelves necessary that would distract from the clean lines that dominate the house.

A Specialist with Outstanding Service

Asked about the benefits of specifying Geberit, Sarah names quality and longevity of the products. "As architect and builder, any problems can come back to me years after the build is finished. To avoid this, I specify Geberit, as they are an established market player. They know what they are doing and deliver outstanding after-sales service," Sarah sums up the reasons why she prefers the Swiss supplier. Designer/Builder/Architect: Sarah Waller architecture Photography: Paul Smith and Nadja Farghaly Geberit geberit.com.au abc
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Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

I've have always been a bit of a sh*t-stirrer,” says Lindsay. “I got myself into trouble all the time at school, but somehow ended up as a prefect on the Student Representative Council. I’m abrasive, which is a product of my ultra-Scottish protestant upbringing, combined with a southern-Irish Catholic sense of humour that – thankfully – mitigates some of that abrasiveness.”

Having grown-up in Belfast Northern Ireland, studied architecture in Scotland, and worked for over a decade with the government in the U.K. during the unforgiving Thatcher years, Lindsay’s design output has always been about far more than basic form and function. His work, both architecturally and academically, is wonderfully disobedient, provocative and purposeful, and not only tells the story of where he’s been – but what he’s learned there, too.

“The early influences in my architectural life were based on the vernacular of brilliant east-coast villages in Scotland and the cottages of Ireland, particularly the materials, climate and context. But on the other hand, there was also an interest in technology and modernity. In the ’60s, my first job was working in London at the time of Carnaby Street, The Beatles, Mary Quant. Things like mod plastic furniture, primary colours and the capabilities of manufacturing in both furniture design and in building – particularly in cladding – really fascinated me. The heritage of my childhood and the cultural movements of my later youth were two complete opposites. Yet each can be seen in my architecture working together, particularly in the work that I did in Ireland, the competition I did for Battersea Park, and the design of a series of acrylic chairs for the Irish government offices at the Hanover Trade Fair in Germany, 1977.”

Lindsay’s eclectic approach to design may have something to do with his equally eclectic life, which has seen him move between careers the world over as an architect, a property developer, a technical advisor for low-cost government housing, a consultant to the World Bank in Saudi Arabia, an academic here in Australia and even having moonlighted as a sheep exporter from Ireland to Malaysia.

“I would have been 42 when I came to Australia,” says Lindsay. “So I’ve had another 50 per cent of my professional life in this country – a completely different cultural situation on the other side of the world. And that’s been hugely invigorating. I came to Australia in ’86 as an academic at the University of Newcastle – and I was very fortunate to get a job there, as I was quite different to what you’d call a ‘normal’ academic. I suppose because of my business experience and I guess my sh*t-stirring personality, I ended up being the head of department and eventually Dean.”

It was at the University of Newcastle where Lindsay used his academic position (first as an Associate Professor, then Head of Department, and eventually Faculty Dean) to instinctively challenge the established traditions of the field and, in his words, “open the world up to the possibilities of architecture and design thinking as being relevant in a much wider context”.

“When I was on the Council of the Institute [of Architects], I also became the Chair of the National Education Committee. We had an education policy then that was largely not understood, that envisaged what architects could do other than the mainstream idea that architects design iconic buildings or one-off houses for rich clients.”

Lindsay Johnston house Photography Charles Dennington deck

This led Lindsay to become a key pioneer of a more democratic socialist design movement in Australia – investigating and championing initiatives where design education, particularly its’ more holistic multi-disciplinary values, might solve strategic problems in the commercial world for corporate professionals or much larger global concerns such as pollution, global warming, public housing and so on.

“If you look at the number of architecture students per head of the population against the limited view that architects can only operate as residential or commercial property designers for the wealthy, it just doesn’t add up. There are companies like Idea International in the U.S. who are using design theory to solve management problems. Consultancy companies like KPMG are investing in design thinkers to solve strategic problems and map out opportunities that others might not see.”

One of the more serious issues that has guided Lindsay’s career since the mid-90s is environmental sustainability. Having continued his architectural practice in parallel with his academic career, he used his research and teaching material as the basis of his practice. He developed a specialisation in low energy and environmentally sustainable building design, for which he received the 1997 Royal Australian Institute of Architects’ NSW Chapter Environment Award for his highly experimental off-the-grid ‘autonomous’ house in the Watagans Forest.

Having experienced first-hand the shortcomings of the architectural education system and the proven effects that applied design-thinking could have on the non-academic general population, Lindsay became principally responsible for founding and developing the Architecture Foundation Australia (OZ.E.TECTURE) in 2001. The annual masterclass program attracted the participation of fellow architectural luminaries Glenn Murcutt, Peter Stutchbury, Richard Leplastrier and Brit Andresen.

“The purpose was really for an alternative to mainstream architectural education,” says Lindsay. “I call it a ‘commando’ group that commits occasional education insolence as distinct from the universities, which are like the Roman legions, burdened by administration. We were all seeing too much architectural energy being put into what Murcutt calls ‘silly buildings’ – like the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks, we were worried by the Ministry of Silly Buildings – all style, no substance.”

Now more than ever, architects have a critical responsibility to contribute to the parts of society that really matter. Having personally lived and worked through some of the world’s most significant economic, political and cultural shifts, Lindsay sees this responsibility more clearly than anyone.

“The political situation internationally right now is appalling. I grew up (and I didn’t realise this much at the time) and got paid to go to university. I got a grant – everybody got a grant. I lived in social housing when I was a kid after the war because there was no housing. Then I got a job in the ’60s at a time when all government departments and local councils actually had a chief architects department. It was a more socialist society, in the best possible sense of the word. The National Health System (N.H.S. U.K.) and the fact that most of the public infrastructure was funded by government meant that people had less, but lived much better. We didn’t have any of this privatisation. Now, everything is privatised, and not for the better.”

While this may seem a little ‘doomsday-er’ for some, Lindsay’s legacy should serve the next guild of radical thinkers as a beacon of inspiration. As Karl Marx once famously said: “To be radical is to grasp things by the root”, and that is the legacy of Lindsay Johnston. Some people are thinkers, some are doers. Lindsay is both. And that’s what the world sorely needs right now. Because if a scrappy “sh*t-stirring” kid from Belfast can defiantly shake-up and influence the establishment for the better, then the coming generation of change-makers can, too.

Photography by Charles Dennington

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Celebrating 20 Years Of Design With Cult

The expanded Sydney showroom will see Cult having more space for new brands, and in late February, was used in a celebratory night that saw the NAU Gallery launched along with an Icons of Design book. The extended Sydney showroom – house in the same location where Cult was founded 20 years ago – makes room to welcome eight brands new to the Cult collection, including Karakter Copenhagen and Nanimarquina, along with Zanotta, Tecno, Vipp, Louis Poulsen, Montana and Design Letters. The night was attended by the Cult team along with some of Sydney’s design luminaries, experts and design lovers, who came together to celebrate the two decade achievement, as well as look forward to the future for one of Australia’s top design brands. [gallery columns="5" ids="71417,71419,71420,71421,71422,71423,71424,71425,71426,71427,71428,71429,71430,71431,71432,71433,71434,71435,71436,71437,71438,71439,71440,71441,71442,71443,71444,71445,71446,71447,71448,71449,71450,71451,71452,71453,71454,71455,71456,71457,71458,71459,71460,71461,71462,71463,71464,71465,71466,71467,71468,71469,71470,71471,71472,71473,71474,71475,71476,71477,71478,71479,71480,71481,71482,71483,71484,71485,71486,71487,71488"]abc