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Achieving Comfort In The Kitchen With Biophilic Design

There’s possibly no other place in the home, apart from the bathroom, where form and function require perfect unison than the kitchen. Many people spend a fair chunk of their day there so it is important the space be conducive to their particular way of living. As a result, designers and architects are committed to making the kitchen as comfortable as possible because of the effect it can have on a client’s wellbeing.

How they go about this varies from practice to practice, region to region. But utilising biophilic design to facilitate positive physical and psychological impact is certainly having a moment. And with the introduction of the WELL Building Standard in 2014 – a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind – the emphasis on designing for wellness is now stronger than ever. Of course, the guidelines include a feature on biophilia and the benefits of human and nature interaction in holistic design approaches.

[caption id="attachment_91108" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Kiah House Austin Maynard Architects Biophilic Design Kiah House Austin Maynard Architects. Photography by Tess Kelly[/caption]

So how are Australian designers and architects utilising biophilic principles within the kitchen? Generally speaking, the preference is for subtlety and restrained interventions, such as dotting the space with pot plants or painting a wall green. A biophilic plan features interaction with nature, nature’s patterns incorporated into the design, and the inclusion of natural elements. Integral to the plan is a scheme that responds to context and has a strong connection to place. This is evident in Austin Maynard Architects’ recently completed Kiah House in Melbourne’s North Fitzroy.   

While the addition to an original weatherboard cottage built in 1927 may be located in an inner-city suburb, the architects have reimaged the site as an oasis, taking inspiration from the clients’ affinity for Japanese gardens and the Buddhist retreats of Kyoto and blurring the boundaries between inside and outside. The kitchen, therefore, responds to a series of gardens and courtyards that allows plenty of sunlight and natural ventilation into the relatively compact space. The island bench further connects to the outdoors through a bespoke sculptural form that echoes the shape of a grand old tree trunk: it’s organic in appearance and highly tactile. It also brings the outside in and gives the kitchen its most compelling biophilic expression.

[caption id="attachment_91110" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Kiah House Austin Maynard Architects Biophilic Design Kiah House Austin Maynard Architects. Photography by Tess Kelly[/caption]

The project exemplifies the direct physical connection to nature that living in a house brings. But what about high-density environments where the majority of apartments in multi-residential developments don’t have gardens on their doorstep? There is nothing to say the same positive effects can’t be achieved, there is just a greater reliance on elements that symbolise or evoke the outdoors. In the Clarion mixed-use development in Sydney’s Alexandria, for example, SJB has incorporated finishes in the apartment kitchens that evoke nature, most notably heavily patterned grey, green and white marble for the island benches. It’s an extraordinarily striking material that resembles a rocky surface or wall from one angle and an aerial landscape view from another.

The idea is that this indirect connection to nature triggers the same sense of wellbeing that a direct one does. It’s a concept explored in Terrapin Bright Green’s 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design: Improving Health and Wellbeing in the Built Environment, where the category of Natural Analogues discusses the use of artwork, lighting, textiles and material finishes to elicit such feelings. This type of application also works for clients who don’t want to fill their homes with pot plants. Ultimately, the best biophilic design champions seamless integration and supports harmonious living.

Austin Maynard Architects maynardarchitects.com SJB sjb.com.au Clarion SJB Anson Smart Biophilic Design [caption id="attachment_91112" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Clarion SJB Anson Smart Biophilic Design Clarion SJB. Photography by Anson Smart[/caption]   We think that you might also like Five Kitchen Designs That Connect To The Outdoorsabc
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The SCCI Architecture Hub Returns October 10-19, 2019

Exploring the evolving complexity of contemporary architecture, its contested histories and its impact on art, health politics, commerce, community and education in Australia and around the world – the SCCI Architecture Hub is all set to return for its ten-day run in Sydney this year. Taking place from October 10-19, the program features a panel of distinguished local and international speakers who will be seen sharing some of the most impactful and state-of-the-art ideas on architecture. Speaking about the event, Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of the SCCI, Dr Gene Sherman says: “Welcoming some fifty local speakers, eight international leaders in their field, and four international headliners, the Hub brings together architects, landscape designers, writers, academics, theoreticians, psychologists, judges, prosecutors, investors, hoteliers, visionary developers and other professionals. In short, SCCI Architecture Hub 2019 looks to dive deeper into the architectural conversation, expanding on previously foregrounded topics whilst looking to the future. We look forward to welcoming both professionals and the wider public to ten days of stimulating and transformative discussion.” Attendees can look forward to thought-provoking keynotes, talks, demonstrations, films and panels. Some of this year’s international keynote speakers are Japanese architects Sou Fujimoto and Jun’ya Ishigami. They will be joined by award-winning French architect, urban planner and educator, Odile Decq and Director of Israel Museum, Jerusalem, professor Ido Bruno. Iranian-Kurdish author, journalist and associate professor of UNSW, Behrouz Boochani will present a keynote via a video link from Manus Island. The Hub will also include a series of thematic events and deep dive forums on topics like Architecture and Memory, Ar(t)chitecture, The Architecture of Justice, Architecture of Human Happiness, Architecture: The Picture of Health, Brutally Sydney and many more. The program is open to the public and tickets are currently on sale. SCCI Architecture Hub scci.org.au [gallery size="large" columns="2" ids="91524,91522"] [caption id="attachment_91523" align="alignnone" width="1170"]The SCCI Architecture Hub 2019 Jun’ya Ishigami[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_91532" align="alignnone" width="1170"]The SCCI Architecture Hub 2019 L'Arbre Blanc by Sou Fujimoto[/caption] [gallery size="large" columns="2" ids="91533,91534"] [caption id="attachment_91521" align="alignnone" width="1170"]The SCCI Architecture Hub 2019 Sou Fujimoto[/caption] [gallery size="large" ids="91526,91528,91527"] [gallery size="large" columns="2" ids="91531,91529"] [caption id="attachment_91530" align="alignnone" width="1170"]The SCCI Architecture Hub 2019 Tangshan by Odile Decq[/caption] The SCCI Architecture Hub 2019abc
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The Expandable House Prototype In Batam, Indonesia

Urban population growth is causing the rapid expansion of urban areas all around the world. In Southeast Asia, the largest numbers of people are moving into city outskirts, resulting in expanded fringe conditions around cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Manila. The provision of safe and sufficient housing to accommodate the influx of people, the development of efficient infrastructure (for water, waste and energy) and the sustainable use of resources are some of the planning challenges presented by these quickly urbanising areas. Expandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna | Habitus LivingExpandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna exterior Professor Dr Stephen Cairns, Program Director of the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) at the Singapore-ETH Centre, is leading a team of researchers who are developing responses to such fringe conditions. Particular to Southeast Asia, the team is proposing a sustainable settlement model titled The Tropical Town along with a subset proposal, The Expandable House. The latter is currently being built and piloted in Batam, Indonesia. The Expandable House is a single house unit that encourages densification in the vertical dimension. It begins as a one-storey house and can be progressively built up to three storeys high over time as desired or required – when household economic conditions improve or family size expands, for instance. Cairns shares that the idea came from an existing building logic. Expandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna | Habitus LivingExpandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna living Cairns explains, “Most of the cities [in this region] are self-built. They are not built by architects or developers; the majority of people build their homes themselves. They would typically buy a piece of land, build a shack first and then expand the house – build a second or even a third storey on single-storey foundations. That becomes incredibly dangerous.” Taking into account the way a typical house would be built over time, The Expandable House provides a roof that can be manually hoisted (with a quick-release fastener and jack system) and foundations that can support up to three floors. This system addresses issues of financing by allowing the developer or state housing agency to provide the roof and foundations as a kind of ‘starter’, while the residents provide the additions as their circumstances require and budget allows. Expandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna | Habitus LivingExpandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna seating bench The house is also sensitive to the fragile economy of migrant households in that the upper storeys would subsequently cost less to build. For the pilot house (currently undergoing expansion from its first storey), construction cost is being controlled via the use of locally available materials such as Meranti and Bangkirai timber (sourced from sustainable, legal forests) as well as fibreglass procured from suppliers in Batam’s local shipbuilding industry. The FCL’s Alternative Construction Materials research team is also developing a bamboo composite material intended for use as a construction material for the top floor. There are plans to incorporate bamboo plantations within the settlement area of The Tropical Town, with a view to creating a local supply of building material for future construction work. This encourages the shift from a mining-based mentality towards one grounded in cultivating, recycling, farming and growing construction materials. Expandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna | Habitus LivingExpandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna interior The vertically expandable house reduces the settlement footprint on arable land, and the demand for costly infrastructure (roads, electrical and potable water networks). Decentralised systems – rainwater harvesting, solar power technologies, sewage and septic tank systems – and passive cooling principles are integrated with the house to avoid expensive and often unreliable centralised ‘big pipe’ approaches to infrastructure provision.

This pilot house, inhabited by a local family, is currently under a post-occupancy evaluation by the FCL team.

Expandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna | Habitus LivingExpandable House Future Cities Laboratory CC Dio Guna itchen cupboards At full scale, The Tropical Town is envisioned as a 16-hectare settlement that consists of Expandable House units integrated with public open spaces, green spaces, schools, as well as other public facilities.

Cairns shares, “Our hypothesis is that this demographic movement into city fringes is the dominant condition in Southeast Asia and even Asia. Our proposal is not just about making do; it is a different kind of paradigm. Quantitatively speaking, if we multiply The Expandable House by a hundred or a thousand or even a million, you can see how these interventions could have a massive effect.”

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King Living x Tom Fereday: The Eto Collection

When an industrial designer like Tom Fereday collaborates with furniture retailer King Living, you can expect the results to be based around four factors: honest design, celebrating materials and manufacturing processes, designing from the inside out and premium quality.

The first Eto desk, which was constructed  around an aluminium alloy frame and finished with FSC rated American Walnut, Congo and Smoked Oak veneer, was designed in consideration of how people work with interchangeable lighting and charging accessories. The adjustable light and wireless charging table can simply be plugged into any leg junction and customised to suit anyone's needs.

Eto Collection King Living Tom Fereday | Habitus Living A slim integrated drawer unit under the tabletop offers storage for everyday desk items and by concealing the power unit, USB socket and cable management systems, the Eto work desk removes unnecessary clutter at a visual level. The combination of high-tech functionality and world-class design of the Eto desk has now extended to an even larger offering, with new Eto dining tables and Eto coffee tables. Built upon the same aesthetic foundations of the Eto desk, these products use the same classic details including an oval leg profile. Available in a rectangular or round option, the Eto dining table is ideal for an open plan or apartment-style living. The rectangular Eto table is available in two sizes and can seat 6 to 8 guests. Eto Collection King Living Tom Fereday | Habitus Living The entire collection can be specified in Carrara or Nero Marquina marble finishes, as well as veneer finishes. Combining state of the art design with 21st-Century practicality, the Eto collection proves to be a lifestyle piece that covers all aspects of life: working, dining and living. King Living kingliving.com.au Tom Fereday tomfereday.com Eto Collection King Living Tom Fereday | Habitus Living Eto Collection King Living Tom Fereday | Habitus Living We think you might also like Habitus Loves... A Man Caveabc
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Unpacking The Power Of Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute

What makes an icon? The intrigue and inspiration that comes with an architectural pilgrimage is alluring. Louis Kahn is one such architect whose work has not just stood the test of time but continues to be revered with fervour, including avid tours and visits. But what does it mean to appreciate the legacy of his work? What is it that enthrals people, converting them into such die-hard devotees? In this second talk in a series of three by the Australian Architecture Association (AAA), the AAA President Tone Wheeler will unpack the enduring importance of Kahn’s 1965 masterpiece – Salk Institute. [caption id="attachment_91510" align="aligncenter" width="820"] Photo by Liao Yushing[/caption] For those not indoctrinated, Kahn’s work can feel austere – hulking behemoths of concrete, spliced with tight, formulaic geometry. From an image, they appear to lack a human-centred approach. This talk aims to get behind the façade and the two-dimensional image by sharing the narrative, the ideas and the extraordinary humanity embedded into the fabric of the Salk Institute. [caption id="attachment_91511" align="aligncenter" width="1170"] Photo by Michael Dant[/caption] From the warm “pozzolanic” concrete, to the teak timber panels and the central water feature designed in collaboration with Luis Barragan – the subtle yet overpowering combination of materiality, form and site orientation coalesce in a building that continues to inspire and delight. The goal for this talk is to showcase that through a highly attentive study it’s possible to convey the true power that this building holds. Think of it as an armchair architectural pilgrimage.

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Thursday 8 August Hosted by Brickworks Studio: 2 Barrack Street, Sydney, NSW 2000 6pm (6.30pm start) – 8.15pm Cost: $55 Earlybird (public) / $60 (public) / $50 (AAA Members) Book hereabc
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Yip Yuen Hong Goes Back To The Basics

When it comes to architecture and design, Yip Yuen Hong is the master of distilling complex requirements down to the essentials. The multiple President’s Design Award (Singapore) winner and founding partner of ipli Architects is an advocate and a practitioner of a solutions-driven design approach in which simplicity of form, program, material and space results in soulful and inspiring architecture.

Despite the focus of his practice largely on residential buildings with various-sized footprints, Yuen Hong finds the most comfort in smaller spaces that pose opportunities for exploration and innovation. With his approach to kitchen and bathroom design – for his clients as well as for himself – the architect warns against over-designing and oversizing that can come with an excessive amount of space. The temptation that comes with the luxury of space, in his words, can seduce clients into unnecessary wastefulness of resources, maximising the available footprint instead of focusing on the overall functionality of a space.

“My kitchen and bathroom design approach ties to my overall approach to architecture,” explains Yuen Hong. “I aspire to achieve a sense of timelessness and simplicity while injecting a spatial quality or materiality that somehow makes you look at a space from a slightly different perspective.”

In recent years, having relocated from a terrace house into a smaller home, the architect is practising what he is preaching by designing his personal space in an efficient and meaningful manner. “People tend to build everything in one go but I prefer to design for the essential requirements in mind and add on overtime, according to the changing needs and lifestyle considerations,” he says.

Similarly, the architect believes that by distilling the needs of his clients to the very basics, the essential aspects of their character begin to stand out. Yuen Hong references creative space uses in housing typologies prevalent in Japan and Hong Kong, where spatial constraints often dictate the economical and creative solutions to space usage. “Everything becomes so tailor-made in these small spaces, it can be quite exciting,” he says.

Thus, a kitchen and a bath can be designed with a degree of flexibility, as certain components can be changed and added over time, allowing each space to feel lived in. Yuen Hong calls this approach “a little more ‘un-design’” and ad-hoc, adding that oftentimes meticulously designed spaces may not allow for reconfiguration and adaptation to lifestyle changes and evolving preferences.

While keeping it simple and practical, Yuen Hong also designs to create inspiring spaces where light and air become important design elements. Within the tropical context of Singapore, this approach offers opportunities to connect interiors to the exterior, keeping spaces open and minimising the compartmentalisation of stale air. He balances privacy and openness, implementing strategies to bring light and air into tight and private spaces like bathrooms through a calculated positioning of openings, lightwells and light covers, or using landscape features to create layers of privacy.

“Within my design, I try to implement solution-driven, simple strategies that can creatively maximise the space,” says Yuen Hong. “My approach never seeks to be over the top but rather to contain subtle yet meaningful gestures.”

ipli Architects ipliarchitects.com

Photography by Khoo Guo Jie We think that you might also like Yellow Brick Binary House by Christopher Polly Architectabc
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More Than Surface Beauty: Cattelan Italia Shows Off New Products For The Whole House

A husband, wife and son team, they have become renowned for their fusion of functionality and aesthetics, and it was during the 1990s – mostly due to their son Paolo’s dynamic ambitions, the company started to export its made in Italy-quality furniture to the world. In 2019, Cattelan Italia brought their deft eye and hand for elegant design new imaginings of the console, chair, sideboard and lamps, tables, bookcases, side tables and beds which all attracted attention at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan. Terminal is a console designed by Paolo, and brings natural and approachable charm to even the most sophisticated environments. The base’s geometric pattern – with a rounded lower profile, and available in titanium, graphite or steel painted in black or brushed bronze – supports a Marmi ceramic top which is available in Cattelan Italia's new Makalu and Emperador finishes, as well as a range of marble colours from Calacatta to Sahara Noir. It is also available in Keramik Premium – with its elegant encircling of the piece’s profile – as well as in wood (Walnut Canaletto, Burned Oak and Natural Oak). terminal cattelan Cattelan Italia chairs have three key features: a dedication to design, perfection in textile details and finishings, and attention to accommodating the body through sophisticated ergonomics. Form is completely at the service of “function, absolute comfort and special conviviality” – and yet the result is easy on the eye. Collaborating with the Tuscan company Archirivolto Design, Cattelan Italia unveiled two exclusive chair designs. Tina is a soft, welcoming seat dedicated to total comfort. In addition to the wide range of leathers, nubucks and fabrics, it is also available in a never-before-seen velvet finish. Embossed titanium, graphite, black or white are the colours available for the painted steel structure. tina cattelan The second chair, Ginevra, stands out thanks to its sober stylistic approach with a nod to the simplicity of traditional forms.
 The inflexible body is in natural beech, Canaletto walnut stain, wengè, white or matt black, while the upholstery can be chosen from fabric, leather or faux leather as shown in the sample book. ginevra cattelan Another collaboration with Archirivolto saw the birth of the Marlon bed, a treat for the eyes and for comfort. The stylized, reassuringly “maxi” upholstered headboard is available in a choice of fabrics and leathers, and the frame is available in both Caneletto walnut and burned out stained ashwood. marlon A third chair, the exclusive creation of Paolo Cattelan, comes in the form of Flamingo. With a four-spoke swivel base in graphite, white or black painted aluminium or nylon, Flamingo embodies the best of craftmanship and quality materials. The upholstery is in fabric, leather or faux leather as shown in the sample book. The two sideboards unveiled this year – BOUTIQUE and VOYAGER – provide equally glamorous but unique approaches to storage. Alberto Danese is the artistic mind behind the design of BOUTIQUE, which gleams as an opulent casket made entirely of glass (beveled doors, sides, top and bottom) while the internal backrest in made of quilted, real or synthetic leather. LED lighting illuminates the interior, as if your belongings were a museum. boutique cattelan VOYAGER – designed by Lorenzo Remedi – draws attention in the room with its embossed decorations in gold or gloss back embellish the frosted glass front, embracing the ultra-decorative approach. The optional items include a drawer that can be placed on each of the doors. voyager Planeta, a lamp designed by Studio Kronos, is a nod to the quirky originality of 1960s design. Frosted satin white blown glass lampshades are supported by a burnished iron structure with brushed brass details, forming a whimsical pattern. Conversely, the industrial chic of CIRCUIT, with its small lampshades of borosilicate glass, titanium and frosted nickel painted embossed steel structure. Featuring integrated LED lighting, in comes in both wall- and ceiling-mounted versions. Cattelan Italia cattelanitalia.com planeta cattelan  abc
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Past Or Present, The Kinley Cricket Club Is Truly Australia

The term pavilion within architecture refers to a subsidiary building that is often positioned separately or as an attachment to the main structure. Hence, functions within such spaces are considered as related to pleasure and entertainment. Specifically, cricket pavilions around the world are designed as multifunctional spaces that can be used all year round. With this in mind, the designers at Winter Architecture approached the project by considering the role of civic architecture and how such spaces can be transformed to foster activation, acting as a positive intervention to the suburban context of Lilydale, Victoria. Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England pavilion The Kinley Cricket Club is located in the Cave Hill Limestone Quarry and is listed as a heritage site. Heritage considerations were extremely vital during the conceptual stage as the site had made long-standing contributions to the community since the limestone quarry and processing plant was established in 1878. The quarry was the primary source of limestone for Victoria, therefore holding great historical significance for the state. By repurposing the heritage site, Winter Architecture was able to celebrate its rich history and the existing structure by maintaining the original building’s form. Though this may have posed as a problem, the collaborative efforts between all parties – the client, Winter Architecture and interior designers Zunica – made sure any challenges were overcome. Additionally, both the architecture and interior design ensured a balance between budgetary constraints, accessibility standards and the creation of a functional space. Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England sign The primary consideration for the Kinley Cricket Club pavilion was to maintain and enhance the relationship between the pavilion and the cricket oval, as well as the surrounding landscape. Design elements, such as the timber battens on the pavilion’s façade facilitate this connection. The designers focused on bringing natural light into the space, with two large southeast openings to reinforce the pavilion’s view of the cricket oval, while also allowing for cross ventilation and increased levels of energy efficiency. Utilising the original structure as a starting platform, Winter Architectureextended the existing structural roof beams into a deep eave so that part of the roof overhangs to create an external shaded area looking out to the cricket oval. Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England material The updated outdoor area on the northeast side of the building is shaded, housing a croquet lawn and barbecue area. This ensures that the pavilion’s multifunctional purpose is suitable for various communal activities as a way of meeting the needs of the surrounding developing neighbourhood. Facilitating future use and configurations of the space, sliding internal partition panels are hung from existing interior roof trusses. The well thought out arrangement of the open plan pavilion also portrays the simplicity of the materials used. Having a restrictive material palette of timber, brick and white powder-coated steel addresses the need for the resilience of the structure as well as spatial adaptability. Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England flexible screen In such a suburban context, Winter Architecture and Zunica have achieved what Australian sports facilities should continuously strive to accomplish – an integrated space for the community. On the weekends, the activity, cheer, and laughter that emanates from the Kinley Cricket Club pavilion being a mark of its success. Winter Architecture winterarchitecture.com.au Zunica zunica.com.au Photography by Nicole England Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England centre piece Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England casual seating Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England casual seating Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England outdoor area Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England architects Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England pavilion exterior Kinley Cricket Club Winter Architecture Zunica CC Nicole England exterior We think you might also like The Pavilion Frenzy abc
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A Sixties Reformation By McManus Lew Architects

Kew Villa, situated in the so-named leafy Melbourne neighbourhood, is located in a ten-unit 1960’s development. The project brief was to transform a single-bedroom villa unit into a light-filled, three-bedroom home that would accommodate the evolving needs of a young family. What is particularly striking about McManus Lew Architect’s transformation is that despite the parameters of working within an existing development (as well as the footprint of a small unit), Kew Villa has the scale and amenities of a much more substantial home, whilst respecting the character of the surrounding properties. “The home demonstrates that comfortable and private family living can be achieved in unexpected places,” says studio founder and director Michael McManus. Kew Villa McManus Lew Architects CC Emily Barlett living To maintain an aesthetic consistent with the original development, the front façade and existing building height were retained, leading to a flat roof plane. “With the consistent and limited colour palette, the home is perceived to be larger without the distractions of material changes,” adds Michael. Significantly, the architect’s vision has also enabled the clients to capitalise on the opportunity to create a unique and expanded home, avoiding the prohibitive costs of selling and buying a new home in the area. Conceptually, Kew Villa embodies an overarching sense of calm, a goal set forth by the clients who desired a restful setting for their busy lives. “Overall, the owners’ interest was more in practicality and creating the fitting shell to support them, rather than creating a space with competing colours and textures,” adds Michael. This is evident in the architect’s choice of material and colour palette which includes the use of robust and timeless materials like recycled brick, blackbutt timber and plywood. “Materials were selected to both sit comfortably amongst the existing textures, and to allow the quiet appreciation of space,” he adds. Kew Villa McManus Lew Architects CC Emily Barlett open plan Programmatically, the house accommodates two new bedrooms (including a spare bedroom for visiting in-laws), a dedicated space for the clients’ love of books and a beautifully landscaped courtyard space, knitting indoor and outdoor together. “Consideration of how the interior and outdoor spaces would work together to maximise the sense of outlook and openness was critical to making the home feel generous,” adds Michael. The previous south-facing courtyard was retained, but “bolstered” by the addition of an additional deck space which creates a “band of outdoor space that bisects the home and provides wide views out.” The architects leveraged a natural fall in the topography to create a sunken living area with a greater ceiling height which transitions seamlessly down to the surrounding garden. Extensive glazing and full height doors open out to the deck – or “outdoor room” – which features a built-in bench, planter box and a retractable awning. Kew Villa McManus Lew Architects CC Emily Barlett kitchen From a planning perspective, the configuration features the kitchen dining room at the centre of the plan, which enjoys views out to the garden. Integrated shelving, study nook and laundry cabinet area, provides acoustic and physical separation of the sleeping areas from the living areas and a long, low-height bookcase that defines the entry from the living area also functions as a balustrade between the split-levels. Sustainably, the architects have gone to great lengths to harvest solar energy, returning power back to the grid, with harvested rainwater servicing the toilets. Existing brickwork that was demolished has been reused, with recycled brickwork utilised elsewhere. In addition, carefully planned cross-ventilation allows for natural breezes across the house and adaptable retracting blinds provide additional shade and comfort. McManus Lew Architects mcmanuslew.com.au Photography by Emily Bartlett Dissection Information Windows from Capral Taxos porcelain benchtops from Maximum Timber handles and hooks from Interia Cooktop from Delonghi Basins from Duravit Downlights from Masson For Light Kew Villa McManus Lew Architects CC Emily Barlett dining shelf Kew Villa McManus Lew Architects CC Emily Barlett nook and study Kew Villa McManus Lew Architects CC Emily Barlett | Habitus Living bathroom Kew Villa McManus Lew Architects CC Emily Barlett | Habitus Living corridor We think you might also like IH House by Andra Matinabc
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A Rural Retreat By MRTN Architects

As you drive northwards, beyond Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, semi-urban sprawl makes way for swathes of pastoral grazing land and grassy knolls, sparsely populated with pockets of trees and granite outcrops. As you descend a natural rise into the little-known district of Nulla Vale, two identical shed-shaped silhouettes come into focus; standalone structures across more than two kilometres of harsh terrain. Occupying a mere 50 square metres in the centre of a 300-acre plot, a modest weekender marks the end of a snaking driveway, which rises and falls along a natural desire line. Designed by architecture practice MRTN Architects, this rural getaway belongs to two Melbourne professionals, Michelle and Louise (and their three dogs: Scout, Boston and Diesel), who sought sanctuary from their demanding city lives. “We drove off the obvious highways and stumbled across this piece of land, to which we felt an almost spiritual connection,” says Michelle. “It had no infrastructure. It experiences high winds. It’s inhospitable really, but we just love its rugged beauty.”

In many respects, this is no ordinary holiday house, where a comfortable, fuss-free lifestyle is a priority. “Our clients wanted a modest house where they could come together on the weekend,” explains MRTN director Antony Martin, “but they purchased this plot with the aim of really embedding themselves in the landscape. They didn’t want a quick fix.” Because the couple wants flexibility to potentially live there full-time in the future, they charged Antony with building a small home that could be converted into a larger house at a later stage. Their immediate need was to establish a connection to the landscape – an authentic commitment they’ve already demonstrated by adding a greenhouse, rehabilitative planting and the running of 260 Merino sheep on their plot. “It’s the right use of the land,” says Michelle. “We are living here in the way that people always have.”

Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts side of house

“We drove off the obvious highways and stumbled across this piece of land, for which we felt an almost spiritual connection.”

The house and storage shed echo the vernacular architecture, with their familiar gable-ended forms and robust palette of materials. “We wanted to create something sympathetic to the rural character of the local agricultural buildings; something unobtrusive in the landscape,” comments Antony. The two structures are fundamentally sheds, but they possess an intrinsic quality that speaks of design intent well beyond the vernacular. “Using the shed typology was also a design strategy that enabled us to work with, and against, fixed parameters,” he adds. For example, the storage shed was sourced from The Shed Company and then divided into two sections. An open space, which lines up with the driveway, performs double duty as a car park and framed portal view to the house beyond. Given that there are no mains connections, the shed was the first structure to be built; its closed sections housing the photovoltaic panels and additional equipment necessary to power the house and any future additions.

The house – cranked at an angle and oriented north – is a rich bricolage of recycled bricks, salvaged corrugated iron, rough sawn timber and new galvanised roofing with pre-engineered timber trusses that are left exposed both internally and externally. The heritage-grade corrugation roof sheeting was carefully selected for its duller appearance. The result is an authentic collage of materials and textures that tone in with the palette of the landscape.

Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts kitchen

As one walks into the house itself, several other design decisions become apparent. “The idea was for the house to feel like a shed on the inside,” says Antony. “We didn’t want a cocooned environment; a mini recreation of the clients’ Melbourne home. This house is about being part of the site not removed from it.” As a result, the architects have specified the same materials for the exterior and interior of the house. The salvaged bricks and the honey-hued timber panelling and joinery reinforce the shed typology, their rusty tones and elemental nature harmonising with the colours of the flaxen grass and golden-hued sunsets. In addition, all internal partitioning was specifically terminated at 2.4 metres, leaving the ceiling trusses visible from anywhere in the house, thereby creating the illusion of space. The sense of openness is also underscored by the abundance of natural light, drawn in through large window sections.

“Whilst the desire for embracing the views was of primary importance, we needed to create deep overhangs to screen out summer heat, while allowing in the winter sun,” adds Antony. The sun, in turn, warms the slab and walls in winter, thereby engendering a passive thermal effect. In summer, the house is naturally cool and habitable. An overhang also protects the house from strong winds, creating a protected outdoor porch.

Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts dining open

Once inside, it’s not difficult to imagine the way in which Michelle and Louise inhabit their humble abode. For Michelle, days are spent indoors reading books and cooking. “We love that the windows are set at sitting height,” she says, “because we always feel connected to the outdoors. Even the dogs enjoy looking out the windows and alerting us when a wombat or sheep pass by.” In contrast, Louise prefers to spend her time exploring the country in her all-terrain vehicle, in the company of the couple’s dogs and two rescue horses. “At night, the experience is different because windows become black, reflective surfaces, so all you have is the space inside,” adds Antony. “To create an intimate environment, we intentionally left the silver foil insulation exposed, which reflects the LED lighting located in the trusses. They cast a warm hue over the entire interior.”

For all its robustness, this weekend retreat supports the romantic desire for solitude and companionship and a sustainable and authentic connection to place. “This house was never going to be a standalone architectural artefact,” says Antony. “This is a humble home, not an object or a glamorous form.” Here, a distinct lack of ego is plainly obvious. A restrained approach is utterly appropriate both in terms of the client brief and nature of this unique and ancient site.

MRTN Architects mrtn.com.au

Photography by Peter Bennetts Dissection Information Heritage-grade galvanized corrugated cladding and roofing from Fielders Vertical shiplap, board and batten cladding in Silvertop Ash from Radial Timber Timber for windows and doors from Sustainable Construction Services Zola door hardware from Designer Doorware PV panels and battery from Off-Grid Energy Café Grind Matt tiles from National Tiles Hoffman dining chairs from Thonet Table by Ross Gardam Strip LED lights from Light Project Fireplace from Nectre Bakers Oven Quattro Zero Basin with integrated cabinet from Rogerseller Eccentric progressive wall mixer from Rogerseller Flow dual shower rail combination from Rogerseller Zero 55 floor mount toilet pan from Rogerseller Radius Lip Pull cabinet pulls from Auhaus Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts corridor Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts bedroom Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts bathroom Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts shed Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts firewood Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts exterior sunset Nulla Vale MRTN Architects CC Peter Bennetts landsacpe We think you might also like Stealth House by Teeland Architects abc
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Happenings

Excellence in Australian Architecture

Architecture and design has the power to captivate, engage and celebrate the wider community. In Australia, we acknowledge the importance of honest and forward-thinking creativity, paired with a unique and considered approach to the design process. Returning for its third year, the much-awaited series, Australia by Design: Architecture premiers to Channel 10. Focused on bringing design excellence to a broader audience of designers and design enthusiasts alike, Australia By Design explores the impact of good design in everyday life. This series seeks to capture the evolving state of architecture that define and motivate the Australian lifestyle by putting the beauty and creativity of design on center stage. This year, Jamie Durie hosts Australia by Design. A polymath with a multifaceted career, Durie is determined to share his passion for design and explore Australia’s most influential and prolific designs, the brilliant minds that created them and the stories that influenced the lifestyles embedded within. “I’ve been part of the design community for over 20 years. During that time, I’ve seen a huge shift in people’s attitudes and their willingness to embrace design of all disciplines,” expresses Durie. “It gives viewers such a unique perspective of the design process, it’s part entertainment, part education. There’s no other program that takes you behind the scenes in that way.” Executive producer of Australia by Design, Mike Chapman is thrilled to collaborate with Durie for the new season. “Since its first series, Australia by Design’s audience has grown exponentially, with Australians embracing design in all its forms. It was very fortunate for us that Jamie, one of Australia’s most recognized faces and also one of Australia’s most awarded designers, was passionate about coming onboard as our host,” adds Chapman. Each series serves as an important document in capturing the snapshot of the present state of Australian architecture. In the first 2 episodes, Australia By Design explores the compelling projects: Coastal Pavilions, Freycinet Lodge by Hobart-based creative powerhouse, Liminal Studio; Lune de Sang Pavilion by Sydney-based practice CHROFI; and the Green Square Library by Stewart Hollenstein Architects. This season, Australia by Design explores the best of Australian architecture and gains exclusive insight into the perspectives from the design and process. From expert presents within the industry to an esteemed judging panel, the minds at Australia by Design determines which is Australia’s ultimate architectural statement of the year. Catch the premiere of Australia by Design: Architecture this Sunday 4 August at 3.00pm on 10 and WIN Network. abc
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Interiors

A Reimagined 1920s Stables Structure

Originally a humble stable and outbuilding for a nearby mansion, Stables House marries the elegance of its past with a new, urban setting. Tucked away in a leafy pocket of Melbourne’s south-east suburb of Caulfield, the 1920s heritage home pays homage to its rich equestrian history. Melbourne-based architecture and interiors firm, Robson Rak, reimagines the contemporary family home through a cohesive, functional and inspiring design. Building on its original fabric and historical features, the brief for Stables House was centred on creating a refined, comfortable and warm home to accommodate the busy lifestyles of a family of five. Robson Rak emphasises the importance of design longevity and client value through challenging the conventional architectural processes to find new and innovative ways to live and experience design. A creative studio that’s focused on human-centric spaces, Robson Rak tells the story of contemporary residential living through timeless and elegant architecture with Stables House. Designed as a testament to the work of Robson Rak, Stables House sought to reinvent the old with the new in a luxurious and balanced way. Without over-restoring the original features of the building, the structure required significant interior alterations to open it up and maximise the versatility and usability of the large living space. On the eastern side of the house is an enlarged opening to encourage connectivity and boundless movement. This is elevated with the flow of natural light throughout the whole house, with insertions of skylights and expansive steel-framed windows and louvered doors on the southern edge of the house. Working to blur the boundary between outside and in, this modern reinterpretation of heritage architecture enhances the living experience as generous garden views and sumptuous rays of light work to breathe new life into the structure and traditions of the existing space. Servicing clients who love to entertain, the architects created a seamless connection between every space without compromising on privacy and functionality in the design process. “We feel passionate about creating interiors that will endure and have long-lasting value. We believe that by creating architecture and interiors that have a timeless feel, we can create projects that stand the test of time,” expresses Kathryn Robson and Chris Rak of Robson Rak. Following a cohesive design language derived from the architects’ renowned aesthetic, the refined material palette and textural narrative of the home provides an overall sense of restrained opulence. Boasting natural materials and custom-made joinery elements that respect and replicate the original style of the space, textural harmony was meticulously established between old and new. When creating a dramatic and pared-back aesthetic, balancing the structure’s size with intimacy throughout the living and kitchen spaces was essential. Taking on a reductionalist philosophy, Robson Rak worked with textures and tonalities that honour the past and future generations of the home. With no details spared, the Zip HydroTap in a Brushed Chrome finish proved to be the perfect addition for the contemporary home. Taking pride of place on the robust porcelain bench top, it is the centre of attention for entertainment and relaxing. Zip offers the family and their guests the luxury of instant filtered boiling, chilled or sparkling water in a single tap. Robson Rak ensures the project is given it’s own personality by revitalising the original, unique character of the past. From an honest and subtle stables-inspired aesthetic of textured and wood-panelled embellishments, each element of the design feeds into the holistic experience of the house. Robson Rak selected a Zip HydroTap as a nod to a salubrious and functional lifestyle in a contemporary method. A paragon for impactful living, the Zip HydroTap is the ideal adornment for the open plan room. Rejuvenated with consistent hues of neutral tones, the overall aesthetic creates moments of tranquillity and serenity in each room. The overarching minimalism celebrates the simplicity of the architects’ design that prioritises pragmatism, meticulous craftsmanship and a unique story that exemplifies the resident’s ways of living. Ostensibly exquisite in purpose, form and narrative, Robson Rak encapsulated a home that balances priorities. Without wanting the home to feel cavernous, Stables House is a vibrant, intimate and elegant orchestration of space. Exploring the intimacy versus spaciousness, the house is an idyllic representation of a considered, compelling and human-centric design. Robson Rak robsonrak.com.au Photography by Lauren Bamford We think you might also like House 184 by Blank Canvas Architectsabc