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Habitus is a movement for living in design. We’re an intelligent community of original thinkers in constant search of native uniqueness in our region.

 

From our base in Australia, we strive to capture the best edit, curating the stories behind the stories for authentic and expressive living.

 

Habitusliving.com explores the best residential architecture and design in Australia and Asia Pacific.

 

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How To Rejuvenate Your House And Sanity

Life during this pandemic is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Such unprecedented circumstances has given us time to reimagine the way we see our homes under the influence of a crisis. Though our habits and values will change within the home, some of us will find the gift of solace and repose within our interiors and for some, a challenge to find any sense of relief from being stuck indoors. Today, the role of the home extends well-beyond a place of rest. Overnight, the home has transformed into a place of work, a retreat, and a place of safety. The multi-faceted space has opened itself up to a place of freedom, where its revitalised identity is influenced by the way we design and decorate our homes. Australian paint company, Wattyl sees an opportunity for colour to play a pivotal role in this new way of living. For many, we crave a sanctuary of calm, peace, reassurance and wellness – traits that can be heavily defined by certain tones. Wattyl has long been a proponent of the psychological role that colour has in improving our health and wellbeing in difficult situations and enriching our innate sense of place. Across the Wattyl range, a rainbow of inspiring colours are meticulously designed to bring tranquillity and a breath of fresh air into your home. Throughout Australia, we’re spoilt with picturesque coastal views and the jewelled tones of the water. Our yearning to be by the seaside is evident now more than ever. Ideal for communal living areas and the bedroom, Wattyl’s palette of blue hues range from deep sea tones of Wattyl’s Denim; the soft sky blue of Kedron Blue; to the calming aqua of Breezy Day can alleviate the longing for the still sounds of the shore. “Blues, universally recognised as peaceful, calm and gentle, have tremendous power in managing stress,” shares Wattyl colour expert, Sarah Stephenson. “Blue hues are soothing and help calm our minds, they reduce our heart rates, lower our blood pressure and reduce anxiety.” In addition to the coast, our country boasts an abundance of greenery and with our extensive time inside, this period has greatly emphasised our innate need for the outdoors. Wattyl lets us bring the outside in with a selection of green tones to restore our deep connection with nature. “A restful and quiet colour, green symbolises renewal and hope. It can diffuse anxiety, helping us to stay calm and feel refreshed,” Sarah notes. The grey and green shades of the eucalypt are injected into Wattyl’s Sooty Owl, Cloud and Rhino – the perfect accompaniment to let that haul of indoor plants shine even more. Transporting you to a place of rejuvenation are the soft blush tones and muted pinks, designed to find the perfect balance between your workplace and a home to unwind. Wattyl’s choice of the Tombola, Bath Bubbles and Pink Caress to soothe your mind, body and soul. “Layered tone-on-tone, these pink hues bring a harmonious and soothing ambience to a space and create a sense of optimism,” says Sarah. To achieve a sense of clarity and freshness to a space, one can never go wrong with warm neutrals and the cleanliness of white. Safe and reassuring, these tones have a welcoming personality – one that is essential in times of stress. Wattyl’s palette of neutrals are elegantly balanced with Confetti Shower, Creamy Coffee and Talc to bring comfort and a sophisticated charm to your home. Paired with walls of white, it gives the individual room to breathe during the day. The Wattyl Calcium, Cotton Grey and Magnesium act as a blank canvas to clear the mind, reset and refresh. A bold, dark and rich palette can go a long way in improving one’s sleeping habits. Sleep is essential to a sense of wellbeing and deep, opulent colours can help achieve the individual relax in a space that is distinctly different to the others. Wattyl Sashimi and Midnight Seas is the perfect pairing to define the boundaries between work and relaxation, providing you a sumptuous space to switch off. Wattyl is dedicated to creating products that are safe, healthy and nurturing. Wattyl’s VOCs (volatile organic compounds) remain at an absolute minimum, ensuring that any harmful toxins have been mitigated. The company’s I.D Advanced ultra-low VOC formula with less than 1g of VOCs per litre exceeds green-building requirements by an exceptionally high margin. A company that is driven by safe and clean products, this distinct paint palette enriches the soul with safe and clean products, while breathing a new life into your everyday spaces. Wattyl encourages you to look past the functionalities of the home – from solely a practical space and into a welcoming haven, inviting you to sit back and relax at the end of a long day. Wattyl Paint wattyl.com.au We think you might also like Pelci Brisbane by Collectivus abc
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Making Breathable Space In Balmy Climes

Sometimes, the simplest of questions can inspire the most obscure contemplations and, in turn, the most well-attuned resolutions. At least, this is true in the case of Baan Lek Villa, a climate responsive design by Bangkok-based GLA.Design studio (GLA.D). At the crux of Baan Lek Villa is a desire to pare back to the things that matter most. For Rinrada Nirot – architect and owner of Baan Lek Villa, as well as design director for GLA.D – that comes down to connections with loved ones, family, and friends; and a harmonious co-existence between people and planet. Located in Chanthaburi, just a few hours from Bangkok, the residence was conceived as a common area to be enjoyed by family and friends, as well as a place for Rinrada to call her own during regular visits to her hometown.  

Baan Lek Villa was conceived as a common area to be enjoyed by family and friends.

  “The requirement was simplified, anchored by always asking: ‘what do we need from this house?’,” says Rinrada. Rinrada reduced the spatial requirements for Baan Lek Villa down to the utmost rudiments: space to share and be with others; and space for privacy and rest. “No more dressing room, no more TV room, no more working station. Just the area that is necessary so that the house can breathe,” she says of the brief. “Breathable space is the essential of this house.” With climate responsive design at its core, Baan Lek Villa’s atmosphere is as breathable as they come. The ground floor is one expansive, free-flowing volume, drawing next to no solid boundaries between landscape, architecture, and spatial function. One and all are warmly welcomed into its wide embrace of open space. In keeping with the vernacular of a traditional Thai residence, this open-air ground level houses the kitchen, dining and living amenities, forming the nucleus of times shared with loved ones.  

With climate responsive design at its core, Baan Lek Villa’s atmosphere is as breathable as they come.

  Elevated by sturdy stilts, the second volume of Baan Lek Villa hovers in juxtaposition, one-up from ground. Robust materials enclose and demarcate spaces for four bedrooms and four respective bathrooms. Each bedroom tethers to the generously sized verandah, positioned front and center of the north-east elevation. In its shape, materiality, configuration and climate responsive design, Baan Lek Villa heralds an affinity to tropical modernism. The clarity with which GLA.D has distilled only the most substantial of needs into design has resulted in a profoundly resolved house, well-attuned to both people and place. GLA.Design studio gla.design Photography by Soopakorn Srisakul We think you might also like IH House by Andra Martin  abc
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Modern Minimalism Inspired By Art Deco Architecture

Sedis began with a chair and barstool by Anne-Claire Petre for Stylecraft but has since evolved to a fuller collection comprising an outdoor chair and barstool, and an indoor coffee table, side table, lounge and easy chair. Moreover, Anne-Claire’s work now flies proudly under the flag of acp atelier, in honour of her French roots. “The creation of a new brand is an exciting time. Thinking about what defines me as a designer, it was obvious that I wanted to acknowledge my French heritage,” says Anne-Claire Petre. It is just so inherent to me and my design journey.” What can now be seen as the first release, in 2019, was an instant success. The industry was immediately taken by the sculptural curves that evolved into strong, minimalist lines. The influence of art deco architecture in the full range is impossible to miss. Without appearing kitsch or nostalgic, any of these pieces could sit comfortably on set for a period film as seamlessly as they would in a modern interior. At home – or at home in a warm and welcoming reception area – the lounge and easy chairs have the sturdiness afforded by a powder-coated metal frame. For physical comfort and visual warmth, the arms, backrest and seat are upholstered to the same minimal and slimline aesthetic. The complementary side and coffee tables are available in American Oak veneer in natural or stained to house colour and stone options including Point Leo Terrazzo or Quartzite in house finishes. For an understated and subtly elevated outdoor experience, the Sedis outdoor chair and barstool should be your go-to. Comprised of a zinc-primed, powder-coated frame and stainless steel foot rail, these outdoor pieces are perfectly primed for the famous Australian elements. Moreover, they stand up easily to high traffic environments be they for frequent entertainers, or complimenting our vibrant hospitality scene. “What I love most about the range is the simplicity and elegance that carries through every single piece and the strong design aesthetic that ties each element together as a family,” says Anne-Claire. The Sedis range by acp atelier is available exclusively through Stylecraft in Australia and Singapore. Stylecraft stylecraft.com.au Photography by Martina Gemmola We think you might also like to read about the Sedis first release abc
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Get Lost In Habitus Living

For more than a decade Habitus Living has prided itself in its ability to keep an industry spread across the Asia Pacific feeling connected. Our internal editorial team and external network of contributors across continents have been steadfast in keeping our finger on the pulse of the industry, communicating and celebrating the work and accomplishments of our contemporaries. As we accustom ourselves and our teams to a new normal – working from home and venturing outside only when necessary – we want to reassure you that Habitus Living is here for you. We are here to educate you when you want to learn, to rejuvenate you when you need inspiration, and to nourish you when you crave an escape. We talk a lot about our ten-year history but many of you already know that, because you’ve joined us from the start. Just as we might miss the incremental evolutions of the people we see everyday, maybe you’ve missed ours? Or maybe you’re a new friend to Habitus Living and we can offer you a recap?

Dialling In With is one of our newest series and it’s about to expand so keep your eyes peeled.

 
Dialling In with Matiya Marovich Sans-Arc StudioDialling In With Matiya Marovich of Sans-Arc Studio
Our origins are in residential architecture and how the houses we live in can not only enhance the functionality of our daily lives, but also serve as an expression of our unique personality. You can find our entire catalogue of residential architecture here. As I mentioned earlier, we consider our local community to be that of the Asia Pacific as one: Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, and we’ve earmarked those regional projects here. We are extremely proud that our quarterly print magazine is considered a pillar in the architecture and design community; many architects and architecture enthusiasts have complete collections. Each magazine is filled with timeless projects that won’t date; rather they serve as quarterly timestamps of state current state and mood of the industry. You can subscribe here, do so now to take advantage of a special subscriber offer: 5 issues for the price of 4.  

Habitus House of the Year became a TV series with seasons 1 and 2 available to watch or re-watch here.

 
Brisbane, Tenneriffe House by Vokes & Peters cc Christopher Frederick Jones | Habitus House of the Year 2019Teneriffe House by Vokes & Peters. Photography by Christopher Frederick Jones
In 2018 we launched Habitus House of the Year to celebrate a carefully curated selection of 20 residential projects that we felt best exhibited our Region’s unique approach to design and way of life. We chose a further few of those projects to showcase in a completely new medium and as a result Habitus House of the Year became a TV series with seasons 1 and 2 available to watch or re-watch here. Around the same time, and after countless requests, The Habitus Collection was re-born. Initially a printed directory The Habitus Collection found it’s new home online and offers our readers – architects, designers and design enthusiasts alike – a comprehensive resource on the key products we see specified again and again in the projects we cover. We developed this further with a fortnightly series that pulls out key themes and products of new projects on Habitus Living.  

We developed The Habitus Collection further with a fortnightly series that pulls out key themes and products of new projects on Habitus Living. 

  We mentioned there have been changes to how we work recently: some more than others and some in different ways to others. As the situation began to unroll Habitus Living was quick to jump on the phone with our community across the country to share how we were adapting and what we were learning. Dialling In With is one of our newest series and it’s about to expand so keep your eyes peeled. We’ve got lots of things in the works. Some you’ll hear of sooner than others, and some – like the annual Kitchen & Bathroom issue, Habitus House of the Year 2020, and our regular unwavering coverage of the local architecture and design community – you might be keenly awaiting. But let me give you a heads up right now: Habitus Living is a child of Indesign Media and Indesign Media never stops innovating, pushing the boundaries, or testing the limits. We are perfectionists and we are perfecting our product, but there is more to come. This is how you can keep in touch with us, or each other through us. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here; subscribe to our quarterly print magazine here; following us on Instagram, FaceBook or Pinterest; drop me line via email; or reach out to the entire editorial team.abc
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James Garvan Lets His Work Speak For Itself

James Garvan began his practice, James Garvan Architecture, in 2016. But his story gets interesting well before then. Despite having family in the architecture and interiors professions, his original intentions were to follow the motions of his classmates and pursue finance. Before taking that leap, he took a gap year. Based in London, James seized the opportunity to travel greater Europe and returned to Australia in awe of the architecture he had seen. He changed his degree to architecture and allocated the first two years to decide firstly, if he liked it, and secondly, if he was any good. Evidently it was a firm ‘yes’ on both counts. James was awarded the Sir John Sulman Award for the Most Outstanding Academic Record at the University of Sydney and was placed on the Dean’s List of Academic Achievement five years running. Clovelly Apartment Before embarking on his solo venture, he worked for some of the most globally recognisable firms, such as Denton Corker Marshall and Philippe Starck (both in London), Hannah Tribe and Daniel Boddam (both in Sydney), and did some work in the hospitality space, too. But he found himself gravitating towards the residential sphere, appreciating the work for its human scale, sense of permanence and substantial nature. The opportunity to positively impact the way people live, their experience of space, and their happiness, both subconsciously and consciously, was also a drawcard: fully aware of the accompanying responsibility. Without too much time spent on the marketing side of things – “the work should speak for itself” – his business in the past three years has grown organically. A sole practitioner with no express plans to grow, James finds his clients, or they find him rather, through word of mouth. As such, having a positive reputation is paramount. A pillar of his practice is being able to offer a high-quality process, believing it will lead to high-quality outcomes. He does this by being respectful of budgets, and honest and upfront about timeframes, what is achievable, and what it’s going to take to realise a client’s wishes. As much as his values are there to attract clients and promote his business, they also exist in order to attract the right clients. Scale isn’t a deciding factor for James: apartments, Alts & Ads, new builds – they are all categories he is happy to work within. Neither is a modest spend. “I firmly believe that you can create beautiful architecture on a tight budget,” he says. “Good architecture doesn’t rely on expensive materials; it relies on sensitivity to space, scale, and composition – and you can do all of those things on a tight budget.” Bondi House Those who have an equal investment in quality driving a project, rather than the timeframe or return on investment, are the people with whom James wants to work. And not having anyone’s salary but his own to worry about he has the luxury to be quite selective in what he takes on. It quickly becomes apparent that James’ whole process relies heavily on collaboration, and collaboration with the best at that. “Great architecture has a clarity of intent: the idea is legible at every scale throughout the entire project and it’s been executed really well,” he says. “To achieve that, you need to bring everyone on the ride with you from the get-go.” He is quick to note how heavily he relies on the builder to implement his designs, and his respect for the client knowing that ultimately they have the biggest stake (emotionally and financially) in a project. In fact it’s the relationship between these main stakeholders – architect, client, builder, and in some cases interior or landscape designer – that James identifies as one of the main pressure points in residential architecture. He suggests it’s crucial to the success of a project that the architect is leading a willing team who is behind the project, has a sense of ownership over their individual roles, and is equally excited for the end goal. Moreover the stereotype of a categorically adversarial relationship between architect and builder is out-dated and unproductive. Paddington House The financial aspect can be another pressure point. While James has noticed that people are increasingly willing to pay for good design, an architect needs to be respectful of budgets along the way. One of the benefits of bringing the builder in early is that they can flag things in the design stage that aren’t possible – or aren’t easily possible. “I’m really optimistic about the state of architecture in Sydney and Australia,” says James. “We’re really lucky to practise here. We’ve got the best of everything: people, the landscape, climate, even money. People are willing to invest in architecture, we should be building really awesome stuff right now.” James says his ambition of becoming one of Sydney’s most sought-after high-end residential architects is grand. Certainly it is great, but his work to date and contagious enthusiasm for architecture as a practice, service, and business bode well for him. James Garvan Architecture jamesgarvan.com Portrait by Charles Dennington, project photography by Katherine Lu

Clovelly Apartment

Clovelly Apartment by James Garvan Architecure  

North Bondi House

A bungalow in Bondi renovated by James Garvan Architecture into a modern minimalist house with a impressive facade Coastal minimalism in North Bondi House by James Garvan Architecture A bungalow in Bondi renovated by James Garvan Architecture into a modern minimalist beach house  

Bondi House

 

Paddington House

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Outdoor Dining with The Alfresco Kitchen

It is no secret that if you are building or renovating in 2020 an Alfresco Entertaining space should be on your plans right next to your kitchen and bathroom and if it isn’t, add it in! Many solutions are at the consumers disposal today but none with the design appeal, build quality, robustness and products to match quite like Artusi’s ABS1 and ABS2 Alfresco Kitchens. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="99933,99936"] Constructed from weatherproof materials and specifically designed for outdoor use, Artusi’s Alfresco kitchen is comprised from Basalt Black NEOLINTH stone benchtop and side panels with fire retardant board mounted on the underside and galvanised steel panels enamelled black and wrapped in Cadbury Oak timber look wallpaper to complete this stylish and functional piece of outdoor furniture. “Since launching our alfresco appliance range almost 3 years ago, we have seen an upward trend in sales of this range and the need for a flat pack and hassle-free home for these appliances was becoming the million-dollar question we were getting asked. Exhibiting the range nationally at the Good Food and Wine Shows the question – can’t we just buy the whole thing, cabinets and all? was becoming all too familiar” say’s Eurolinx Marketing Manager Daniel Bertuccio. “So after examining the market, that’s what we decided to do. Collaborating with our display design company this solution has come to fruition”. Designed and purpose built for Artusi’s alfresco appliances, the kitchen comes in two styles (with or without a sink space) and is ordered as a pack with Artusi’s Gas BBQ, BBQ Lid, Beverage centre & the optional version with Artusi’s Stone Granitek sink and matt black tap. Having already been well received by the market, work has commenced on the next evolution of the Artusi Alfresco Kitchen with another finish option to match the Stainless Steel appliances and also a more compact version to house just the BBQ.   [gallery type="rectangular" ids="99940,99939"] Artusi’s Alfresco Kitchen is now on display at its distributor Eurolinx’ Showrooms Nationally and online at artusi.com.au. The Alfresco Kitchen is also on display at Harvey Norman Furniture Stores Nationally. RRP for the Artusi Alfresco Kitchen with appliances is $12,999 (sink & tap option) or $11,990 (without sink & tap option). Artusi artusi.com.auabc
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The Space-Making Magic Of Built In Joinery

Space can be found in even the tiniest of townhouses, if only one makes use of built in joinery – Cantilever Interiors’ renovation of this Little Gold Street warehouse conversion is a case in point. Once upon a time, this house on Little Gold Street in the funky Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, was a brick factory. In 2004, the warehouse underwent a conversion at the hands of McCorkell Design, turning the once vast, singular space into four residences ideal for small(ish) footprint, inner-city dwelling. Typical of the townhouse typology, the residences that became of the brick factory were long and narrow. One of the houses, home to a creative couple, has windows only on the street-facing elevation and the side back corner of the building, limiting light access to the central hub of the abode. In 2017, the couple engaged Cantilever Interiors to remedy their light-restricted home. Working within the existing footprint, Cantilever opted to install built in joinery solutions as a means of increasing natural light exposure, while increasing the storage and enhancing the function of Little Gold Street’s living, dining, and kitchen spaces. A white palette, with soft grey stone benchtops now bounces soft light through the space, elevating the ambience of the room. The contrast of the benchtops against the floorboards emphasises the simplicity of the design. Tasmanian Oak battens were introduced to repeat the detailing used on the stairwell, balancing the spatial aesthetic of the space. The simplicity of build works required to transform the home is also a benefit. Working ‘within footprint’ is a challenge that Cantilever enjoy, evidencing how quality of outcome can improve through a simplification of design response. Unnecessary build works increase cost, which typically impacts quality of outcome. And that’s not to mention the unnecessary waste, consumption of materials, and neglect of the existing embodied energy. Cantilever’s reconfiguration of this space is at once simple, subtle, and sensitive – all the while efficient and effective. Cantilever Interiors cantileverinteriors.com Styling by Ruth Welsby, photography by Martina Gemmola Dissection Information Tex tiles by Mutina from Urban Edge Ceramics for splashback Built in joinery by Cantilever Interiors K3 Kitchen System in white by Cantilever Interiors Cooktop from Miele Integrated refrigerator from Fisher & Paykel Oven and dishwasher from V-Zug abc
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The Light Touch Of Design For Longevity

With our focus here at Habitus so steadfastly on residential architecture and design across the Indo Pacific Region, it’s a rarity for us to cover that of the Queen’s land. Yet every now and then, a house in Britain will come along that is simply too good to overlook. In its quest to design for longevity, London-based practice, McLaren.Excell, has produced such a house – its known as Lower Mill. Located in a small English countryside village, in the folds of the chalk hills below Britain’s oldest road, Lower Mill is one of two village mills recorded in the Domesday book. As it stands today, Lower Mill is a heritage listed, c.1700 structure which, despite various alterations and extensions, has retained the attributes of a water mill – complete with Victorian milling machinery and water wheel still intact. When the clients first approached McLaren.Excell to convert the piece of built history into a house for modern day living, Lower Mill had not had permanent inhabitants since it ceased to function as a working mill. Rather than managing a restoration and conversion, the architects sought to preserve as much of the original features as possible, teasing new life out of the historic building while transforming it from water mill to home. Demonstrating their purity of craft and mastery of architectural fundamentals, McLaren.Excell have made a minimal yet emphatic contribution to the mill which blends with the fabric of the building. Choosing to work with a material palette that is distinctive, but not indulgent, McLaren.Excell made its considerate alterations to the mill in the reserved materiality of stone, concrete, timber and metal. Raw plate steel was chosen as the primary material throughout the original mill, and is a key ingredient used in for its restoration. The mill’s industrial origins were the most important consideration and their design decisions draw on these beginnings. Like the mill itself, McLaren.Excell’s work is simple, functional and honest. The subtlety of the practice’s approach demonstrates its complete understanding of materiality, light, surface, composition and sense of human interaction. Harboring deep respect for the building’s history and unmoved by fleeting fads, Lower Mill by McLaren.Excell is the very essence of design for longevity, in the body of a water-mill-turned-house. “There’s nothing that will date about the quality of a space; that is a timeless thing,” says Luke McLaren, co-founder of McLaren.Excell. “There’s nothing that’s going to date about the quality of light that you’ve managed to achieve in a building, that is also timeless. But how you detail, how you choose materials in an appropriate way – how the building feels, for want of a better word – those things can age,” he continues, “It’s on that level that you need to be really careful that what you’re doing will stand up to time and will endure.” This is just as pertinent to a project's fixtures and fittings as it is of material finishes, hence Lower Mill has been fitted with nothing but the highest of quality and the most refined in design. To fit the kitchen and bathroom, VOLA tapware was the natural choice for McLaren.Excell.  The Danish tapware brand places such strong emphasis on longevity that some of its earliest products are still fully operational today. As a brand that is always sure to look back while moving forward, VOLA is both the original modern tap designer and a multi award-winning brand synonymous with contemporary design. Championing design for longevity, McLaren.Excell’s light touch to the life of Lower Mill is the focus of the fourth in a series of short films produced by bathroomware brand and icon of Danish design, VOLA. VOLA vola.com/on-design Photography by Thomas Seear Budd   We think you might also like this video on wellness, wellbeing, and design.abc
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Dialling In With Paul Owen Of Owen Architecture

Since establishing Owen Architecture in 2015, architect Paul Owen has been no stranger to the realities of working from home. Now in its fifth year the studio – small in size and numbers – finds its office within a separated structure at the rear of the house Paul shares with his wife and children. What has changed recently, is that fact that his team no longer comes to his home office to work, and that they can’t meet up to catch up with each other, clients, or contractors. For a few weeks now meetings have been taking place via video conferencing or – when appropriate – not at all. Habitus spoke to Paul about the adaptable and flexible approach Owen Architecture has taken to moving forward and key takeaways the team has already managed to find.   You already work from home with your team of two out of a former garage separated from your own house. What, if anything, has changed in the day-to-day now that they’re both working from home? Logistically it doesn’t feel very different from our usual work situation, because we're a very small home based studio. Since Christmas it feels like we've had non-stop meetings and that seems to have eased off ... not sure if it's because of the covid situation or just coincidence. Now we're running meetings via screen sharing, which is completely fine because our design meetings are always around a screen, viewing a 3D model and imagery. So, having remote meetings is completely workable. It will be interesting to see if there are disadvantages compared to in-person meetings. I wonder if it will force a total rethink of the way we work? I’m sure not everyone will walk away from this period and move their companies to operate remotely permanently, but as you say, it highlights those little inefficiencies in the office and people will start to think of ways to combat them. Yes, already I can see it’s very possible for our team to work remotely, at least for some of the time. Our team are independently self sufficient, which makes this much easier than if we required a larger range of experience levels. My wife and I were listening to a podcast last week that discussed working from home because of social distancing. It mentioned a case study where a travel company trialed working from home. Staff reported being more productive and satisfied but began missing social interaction of the office environment. The study noted the staff in the survey worked independently – they were a travel company – which suited a work form home dynamic. Architectural work definitely team-based, so I wonder how sustainable it is to be working separately. Maybe there’s a system of deliberate catch ups combined with working from home. Have there been any new working strategies put in place like morning meetings? Has anything changed now that your team is remote? I'm not very good at maintaining regular team meeting culture, I feel we're discussing things we already know, because we sit right next to each other all week! I also actively avoid situations where staff can tell me what I’m doing wrong … only joking :-D Perhaps we should be having zoom catchups so we don't completely forget about each other. There are also big chunks of sitting at the computer for a couple of weeks producing work; it’s not a daily or even sometimes weekly update. I could have a chat to a staff member and that’s them for the next two weeks. Almost as if you were to update everyday it could be the same conversation/meeting everyday? Exactly. That’s the really great thing about our work, they’re house commissions, which are admittedly small but still two years worth of work. I empathize with friends who are graphic designers who have lots of small commissions as they have ten times the number of meetings, fee proposals, and would have to more regularly catch up with staff on things. In terms of the realities of our work, I guess it would be 75-80 per cent sitting down at the computer doing work and the rest would be having contact with people. What are you anticipating for the next couple of months for client catch-ups and meetings? How will you do that now? Screen sharing meetings are working quite well. Given the seriousness of the current situation I think everyone is able to be flexible and to look for ways to ensure we have a workable way to communicate. Also, in later project stages it’s possible to meet less and send detailed information in electronic form for clients to review. Because in the earlier stages you’re still teasing it out? Yes, after a while it’s more or less understood what the design is and we’re talking through technical stuff. We could even not have meetings: send through drawings and a list of things to check as homework. From this, we might even reconsider those processes. We could simply send things through and highlight what we need them to check. Most of it’s already worked through quite well. What about sourcing things for clients likes finishes, materials, surfaces and even furniture as the case may be – how would you navigate these elements if the current circumstances don’t lift for the next little while? It’s always great to see products in the flesh but we’re happy seeing these them online. Pretty much everything is set up to do remotely if you wanted to. In the last ten years or so, imagery and online representation of products has improved enormously. Often product websites are better than a physical showroom. Owen Architecture owenarchitecture.com.au We think you might also like Dialling In With Miriam Fanning Of Mim Designabc
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This Clever Layout Makes More Room To Move On A Tight Site

Built on a tight site and an awkward footprint, this classic weatherboard worker’s cottage in St Kilda had little room to move. So, when the client’s brief asked for more space and a feeling of openness, the design team at Jost Architects had their work cut out for them. While the original house had all the charm and character of a worker’s cottage, a substandard 1980s extension had an inefficient layout, and a dreary backyard provided a plain and uninspiring aspect from the living, kitchen and dining areas. The client engaged Jost Architects to create new, comfortable and contemporary spaces that complemented the heritage of the cottage without mimicking it. “The client wanted a feeling of openness,” says Patrick Jost, director of Jost Architects. “However, it proved a challenge to fit all the contents of the brief into a tight space, due to the 140-square-metre footprint, the awkward tapering shape of the site and the heritage overlay.”  

The design team applied some complex geometries to ensure the upper-level façades presented symmetrically at each end of the property.

  Jost Architects retained and refurbished the two front bedrooms and bathroom on the ground floor and designed a two-storey addition with a new kitchen, living and dining area downstairs and a master suite and balconies upstairs. While the planning may sound simple enough, the tapering site meant the gutter line, roof ridge and ceiling and wall junctions weren’t parallel to each other or horizontal. To counteract this, the design team applied some complex geometries to ensure the upper-level façades presented symmetrically at each end of the property. “This was all very carefully worked out so no one would notice the unusual form, although a couple of the carpenters who set out the framing had minor existential crises,” Pat jokes. The kitchen/dining/living area promotes the desired sense of openness, with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors connecting it to the northwest-facing courtyard enclosed from the rear laneway. Careful planning and design maximised the functionality of the room. The banquette seat for the dining table abuts the kitchen bench, which has stool seating at the end, and the fireplace plinth doubles as the first (or final) step to the stairs.  

A screened in balcony with shutters enable the homeowner to engage with the activity of the laneway.

  Upstairs required careful consideration to create an interior layout that suits the client’s brief within a form that complies with the heritage overlay and sits within the streetscape. The master bedroom is at the rear where it has a screened in balcony with shutters that enable the homeowner to engage with the activity of the laneway. The aluminium screen also provides privacy and protection from the afternoon summer sun. A walk-through robe leads to the ensuite at the front of the house, where a second balcony sits behind the ridgeline of the cottage roof and provides additional private outdoor space. A palette of long-lasting and durable materials distinguishes the new addition from the existing dwelling, while not straying too far away from the original. Galvanised custom orb cladding wraps up and over the house, intersecting with the weatherboard cladding. “Both are familiar materials found on the classic Victorian worker’s cottages in this part of St Kilda,” Patrick says. Inside, decorative concrete with zoned hydronic heating, thermally broken aluminium and narrow-profile steel-frame double-glazed windows and sliding doors help maintain a thermally comfortable environment year-round. Jost Architects jostarchitects.com Photography by Tom Roe and Shani Hodson Dissection Information Weathertex 200mm Classic Weatherboard smooth cladding system Lysaght Galvanised Custom Orb metal sheet Australian Sustainable Hardwoods “Australian Oak” Engineered Select Grade Flooring Laminex white joinery with black and white edging Carrara Marble kitchen benchtop Dowel Jones King Dome Three Point pendant light Large Bellis pendant light with chain from Schots Haiku Series 60 from Big Ass Fans We think you might also like Worker's Cottage by Clayton Orszaczky abc
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A Sri Lankan House With Transplanted Roots

Sri Lankan wine and spirit entrepreneur Sathya Selvanagan wanted a home for his wife Madusha, their three daughters (the youngest a newborn) and his parents at Mount Lavinia, one of Colombo’s suburbs famed for its distinct golden-sanded beaches. The Selvanagans’ sizeable extended family lives nearby and Sathya wanted his family’s home to be large enough to accommodate all manners of large family festivities – baby showers, engagement parties, birthdays, pre-wedding ceremonies and so on – yet intimate enough to create memorable moments. He also wanted the design to be that of a Sri Lankan house with a contemporary nod to his family’s South Indian roots. Madusha wanted their home to inspire warmth and be tightly integrated with the outdoors despite wall-to-wall construction that populated the plot of land they bought for their home. For this, the pair approached Palinda Kannangara, an award-winning Sri Lankan architect (recognised in the 2018 Habitus House of the Year Awards) whose career they have followed closely over the years. “The attempt was to capture a bit of the atmosphere of South India in nuanced and subtle ways – without any direct architectural influences – to provide its residents with a deeper connection with their roots despite living overseas,” says Palinda of the design approach. The architect burst into global consciousness in recent years thanks to a cohesive portfolio that thoughtfully captures the spirit of a Sri Lankan house. Among Palinda Kannangara Architects’ well-known design hallmarks are locally sourced materials, many of which are salvaged from old or demolished estates; honest finishes that will gain patina over time; and landscape designs that accommodate the island’s torrential monsoon instead of trying to exist separately from it. All of these are apparent in the Selvanagans’ house, and more. The 5410-sqaure-foot home is dubbed Spinal House after its main feature: an open-air central thoroughfare, a negative space that defines the spatial organisation of the home. The existing site was a trapezoidal plot wedged in a dense neighbourhood without significant views or vegetation. The spine is a natural design solution to divide the space into neat geometric zones and an opportunity for the residence to create its own oasis. “Despite its solid exterior, the house attempts to create an oasis for the family where living spaces are totally permeable, and lush gardens create a cool microclimate despite Colombo’s heat,” says Palinda. The spine separates the service areas from the living quarters and mediates the indoors with the elements, bringing natural light, breeze, and glimpses of greenery inside. Walking along this spine is a journey rich in texture. It starts with a dry garden paved with stones salvaged from demolished tea estates and roads. This paved garden segues into a skim pond next to a dining room whose walls can be opened completely to the elements. During the monsoon season, the paved garden transforms to a pond to accommodate the rain while during the dry season it cools the air that flows through the house. Such a climate-responsive design is the linchpin of tropical modernism and, by extension, quintessential of Sri Lankan house design. Bridging the main living quarters and the service quarters, the dining area is a brief interruption on the green spine that provides the residents a comfortable place to absorb the elements while staying indoors. On the other side of it, the spine continues, fanning out into a lush tropical garden. The South Indian homage within the Sri Lankan house is expressed subtly through the spatial and sensorial qualities of the residence, and always where it makes sense to the climate. Sathya’s grandparents hail from Tiruchirappalli, a city in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu famous for its ancient temples and fortresses. The state is densely populated, featuring deep and narrow homes with alleys and multiple courtyards. In stark contrast, Sri Lankan house design is a much more simplified typology, influenced by Buddhism and involving plenty of verandahs and open-air living, according to Palinda. He credits his studio’s partner, Varna Shashidhar, a landscape architect hailing from South India, for infusing the culture of the place in Spinal House. The unique pattern of the brick walls flanking the spine, for example, is a nod to the South Indian woven tapestries. The South Indian influence is the most keenly felt in the home’s subterranean prayer room. Hidden beneath the wide gallery staircase, this prayer room is a no-frill take on garbhagriha (‘womb chamber’ in Sanskrit), the innermost sanctuary in a Hindu temple where the idol of the deity resides. The walls are polished cement finish, the floor granite tiles, and the lighting oil lamps placed on niches. It is a far cry from the heavily ornamented Hindu temple, but inspires no less reverence. A similar poetic stillness is embedded in the rest of the house. If the lower level is warmer and more textural, the upper level is all about lightness. Walls and roof panels are whitewashed, the flooring is local timber, and all the rooms have generous openings to the spine, which the architects have articulated in different ways. The study that bridges the master bedroom with the children’s bedroom features one continuous window with sliding glass panels. The playroom above the dining room is practically transparent, featuring glazed panels with timber frames – some operable and some fixed – overlooking the roof garden planted with herbs on top of the service quarters. The master bedroom opening features a deep ledge and pivoting timber panels that open and close together like blinds via a bespoke mechanism. During events, the house plays the role of a welcoming host with its open spaces, operable partitions and myriad fenestrations. The social butterflies have plenty of room to mingle, the playful have nooks and crannies to entertain themselves, while the shy and the reserved can observe behind smaller openings. And after, each family member can retreat to his or her own favourite spot: Sathya on the ledge of the master bedroom window, Madusha at the living-dining spaces near the garden, and the children weaving in and out of the indoor and outdoor spaces. In Spinal House, Palinda Kannangara has successfully transplanted the cultural roots of South India in Sri Lankan land, and fertilised them with the design simplicity, modernity and sensitivity of a Sri Lankan house. The resulting residence is a dreamy slow dance of nature and culture. Palinda Kannagara Architects palindakannangara.com Photography by Sebastian Posingis Dissection Information Salvaged stone for courtyards Terrazzo flooring for ground floor Locally sourced teak floorboards Custom designed ornamental brick walls Lunumidella timber ceiling Garage door and pivot windows custom designed by Palinda Kannangara Architects Sofa and chairs by Lee Furniture Dining table and chairs by Lee Furniture Repurposed centre table Bedroom and shrine room furniture custom designed by Palinda Kannangara Architects, fabricated by Lee Furniture Corroded light fittings custom designed by Palinda Kannangara Architects, fabricated by Kalaya Architectural lights from Majestic Electrical Bathroomware from Vitra, Hansgrohe and Hafele Painting by Sri Lankan artist Druvinka Madawala We think you might also like Artists' Retreat by Palinda Kannangara Architects abc
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An Exploration Of Emerging And Exisiting Housing Typologies

The housing crisis is an international phenomenon very much to do with the rapid growth of cities. This growth strains available property resources, forcing prices up and making property less affordable to a growing number of people. Add to this changing social values, stretched infrastructure, and a shifting economic landscape and you have the scenario for developing new housing typologies and re-visiting existing ones to respond to that changing environment. For Geoffrey London, Professor of Architecture at the University of Western Australia (who is working closely with the Western Australian government agency, Landcorp, to develop new affordable housing models) the issue is: “How can design intelligence be brought to the housing problem?” Such design intelligence, of course, needs to go beyond architecture and address overarching strategic planning and realistic economic models or what Geoffrey refers to as “considered options for the marketplace”. We know that endless suburban expansion – seen throughout Australia and on the periphery of Asian cities such as Kuala Lumpur – is not sustainable. Instead, we need greater densification within existing urban and suburban areas where infrastructure resources can be concentrated along with employment and social amenities.  

We know that endless suburban expansion – seen throughout Australia and on the periphery of Asian cities such as Kuala Lumpur – is not sustainable.

  The Commons by Breathe Architecture, photography by Marnie Hawson As Geoffrey points out, in Australia greyfield infill is starting to occur, but on an ad hoc basis. This has brought with it some architectural innovation, creating greater density that is also liveable – unlike a lot of equally ad hoc medium-density, developer-driven apartment buildings that seem oblivious to notions of community and liveability. By way of contrast, Western Australia’s Landcorp is facilitating the White Gum Valley Housing Project in Perth. Here, in the first phase, individual owners have developed (with architects, spaceagency) their own multi-residential complex. Costs have been reduced by eliminating developer and marketing fees and creating stacked houses with common walls and extensive communal amenities. This is an example of what is loosely known as the Baugruppe (literally, building group) housing typologies pioneered in Germany. This is basically a financial model and involves placing a cap on profits and eliminating marketing fees and expensive optional extras. It is summed up by Breathe Architects who designed Australia’s first example, Nightingale 1 (The Commons), in Melbourne’s Brunswick: “How can we build a well-designed, community-led building for owner-occupiers, not investors?” The result was a highly sustainable and more affordable 20-apartment building, now followed by further iterations: Nightingale 2 in Melbourne’s Fairfield (Six Degrees Architects), Nightingale 3 in Melbourne’s Brunswick (Austin Maynard Architects) and Nightingale Fremantle in Western Australia (EHDO) – all architect-designed in collaboration with the potential owners; all highly sustainable; all with a cap on profits for investors; and all eliminating unnecessary features resulting in a 5-10 per cent reduction in costs.  

The Baugruppe housing typologies pioneered in Germany. This is a financial model that involves placing a cap on profits and eliminating marketing fees and expensive optional extras.

  The Commons by Breathe Architecture, photography by Marnie Hawson James Legge, a Principal with Six Degrees Architects (whose Heller Street Park and Residences in Melbourne’s inner-suburban Brunswick in 2011 was a fascinating forerunner with 10 townhouses and a merged private and public domain utilising remediated land) has made a special study of new housing typologies. In a talk on the subject, he prefaced his remarks with a quote from the famed American urbanist, Jane Jacobs: “There is no logic that can be imposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit.” James identifies three categories of housing development: Subsidised, At Cost, and For Profit. It is the At Cost models that are relevant to this article and they comprise: Cooperative Development, Deliberative Development (citizen-led), Deliberative Development (architect-led) and Enlightened Speculative Development. These are different development models and may take different forms in terms of financing and architecture. James’s talk focused on a number of German examples which almost certainly flag future developments elsewhere. [gallery size="medium" ids="101016,101018,101015"] Heller St Park + Residences by Six Degrees, photography by Patrick Rodriguez Typically, some form of co-housing is involved. In Australia (as elsewhere) this involves shared amenity such as community gardens, common rooms and recreation areas and may be driven by any of James development models. An intriguing example of an early co-housing project in Singapore is The Cranes in the precinct of Joo Chiat, which I discussed in my book, Sustainable Luxury (2014). This involved consolidating two traditional shop houses, then restoring and re-developing them over four levels. The complex consists of six apartments with a central common courtyard, a reading room and two communal cooking and dining areas. The aim was to create a sense of community, not just within the complex, but within the wider Joo Chiat community, connecting with the traditional and authentic character of the area by retaining many of the original features of the shop houses, especially on the streetfront. The developer was a boutique developer (the architects were a special division of the large integrated architectural firm, Ong & Ong). It is an example of James’ Enlightened Speculative Development, as is Melbourne’s The Commons, which began as a Baugruppe project before being taken up by a developer. However, Speculative Development projects are also beginning to re-think the way we live, especially from the point of view of sustainability, community and optimising available plots. Clyde Mews by Six Degrees, photography by Alice Hutchison Six Degrees has designed sustainably focused cluster-housing in the Melbourne suburb of Thornbury. Clyde Mews consists of six townhouses and two apartments linked by walkways. Each dwelling is restricted to one car space and these spaces are located on the periphery of the complex to help integrate the complex as a community. The communal garden is designed as “a shared backyard”, while the complex boasts exemplary sustainable features, including the preferred use of material recycled from site as well as other recycled timber and bricks. Captured water supplies toilets and laundry needs while all the dwellings enjoy solar power and passive heating and cooling systems. In Melbourne’s Fairfield (just four kilometres from the CBD on the Yarra River and diametrically opposite Nightingale 2) is 71 Station Street, a speculative development by Osten and designed by Cheah Saw Architecture. This project responds to a key issue in densification. Namely, if people are required to live in apartments rather than on quarter-acre blocks, then the experience has to replicate that of a home with amenities such as gardens and outdoor living. This project sets out to do just that. Designed on a domestic scale, the complex consists of 13 dwellings in four storeys, each one different from the other to create the experience of one’s own unique home. The architects have set out to generate a sense of community within the complex, but also with the village-like character of Fairfield which has a diversity of housing typologies. Hence, the three ground-floor apartments are designed for down-sizers who can enter their home straight off the street and into their own extensive garden, evocative of some of the older villas in the area. No.71 Station Street by Cheah Saw, photography by Clemence Harvey Entry to the complex is down a side lane and through a private entry court and a human-scale lobby. The stairway is the main thoroughfare to encourage interaction – a “vertical street”. The smallest units across two levels are on the top floors. They are like townhouses and are aimed at young families and zoned to allow for privacy with the bedrooms on the upper level. Balconies throughout are designed to be outdoor rooms and part of the useable space. We are now familiar with mixed-use developments which act as de-centralising satellite hubs combining residential with retail, hospitality, recreational facilities, libraries, and medical and child care centres. These represent a new ‘densified’ model of living, arguably superior to the suburban model with its propensity for social alienation. Running in parallel is a growing awareness of the importance of mixing demographics – age, ethnicity, income groups – in the interests of social sustainability and individual wellbeing. An outstanding variation on this is in Singapore where Kampung Admiralty in the district of Woodland is the first integrated development in Singapore bringing aged care, and public facilities and services together under one roof. Kampung Admirality by WOHA, photography by Patrick Bingham-Hall and K. Kopter Designed by WOHA, the two 11-storey buildings form a vertical village (kampung) culminating in a community garden on the rooftop. At ground and mezzanine levels is covered public space and a hawkers food area. On the mid-level is a medical centre, while the 104 apartments are custom-designed for independent elderly singles and couples. It is, say the architects, “bringing together young and old to live, eat and play”. This is because the complex also includes a day care centre, thus promoting inter-generational bonding – a model now being explored in Australia that ensures that ageing members of the population remain socially integrated and active. This article has highlighted just a few examples of new approaches to housing. If there is indeed a housing crisis, perhaps we should start to see it as an opportunity rather than a threat – to explore new ways of living, better aligned to the realities of the age we live in. We think you might also like Five Of The Best Australian Prefab Homesabc