austin maynard contains functional melbourne home beneath ‘architectural mountain range’

in melbourne, australia, austin maynard architects (AMA) has completed a residence that, despite appearing as an ‘architectural mountain range’, is a contextual response to its site. the project combines two properties situated on long blocks with a wide lane at the rear. one of which served as the client’s existing home, while the dilapidated house next door was also acquired by the client — a family of five. although the structurally unsound second house needed to be demolished, a heritage overlay dictated that the street frontages of both homes must remain.


all images by peter bennetts

a glazed entry, set back between the heritage buildings, unites the scheme and forms the gateway to the new build — titled ‘RaeRae house’. the entrance leads into the heart of the house, where a lounge, kitchen, and dining area look out onto a spacious north facing garden. above the kitchen, at the center of the residence, is the parent’s en-suite bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe. meanwhile, beyond the dining room and concealed laundry room is the two-storey kids-zone, with three bedrooms and a bathroom accessed via a spiral staircase. below is a rumpus room, a study, and a multifunctional utility/garage space.

the front room of one the existing terrace houses is now a self-contained guest suite, which includes a separate entrance via the original front door. the other terrace is now a home-office and, located behind the other front door, a garden shed which leads directly through to the central garden. the project’s distinctive roof profile, described by the design team as ‘an architectural mountain range’, has been tuned to minimize overshadowing and visual bulk. the slate-clad roof is low against abutting gardens to avoid overshadowing, and high where the neighbors have built against the boundary.

the same rational approach was also applied to the home’s exterior, where timber and brick have been used to great effect. ‘wherever there is an opening, there is timber above, resulting in minimal structural steel, significantly reducing cost while also adding pattern and beauty,’ explain the architects. ‘the timber and brick create an aesthetic that is not just fanciful but based on solid pragmatics. similarly the window locations, externally randomly placed, yet internally undertake specific spatial functions.’

as with all their projects, the team at austin maynard architects worked closely with the client to develop a highly personalized design. ‘instead of the usual request for a parental retreat, a quiet place far away from active family areas, the owners asked for the main bedroom to be at the very center of the house,’ says AMA. ‘here, located directly above the kitchen, the parents have the opportunity to directly engage with the activity below, or close the large sliding doors to create a private space.’ the children also have their own versatile areas, and every part of the house can be a secluded space, closed off with hidden sliding doors, or opened up.

from a sustainability perspective, the house was built along the southern boundary to take full advantage of the northern aspect. the design aims to maximize available daylight and optimize passive solar gain in winter, while ensuring that summer sun does not hit the glass. all windows are double-glazed with fixed external awnings to provide shade. with active management of shade and passive ventilation, demands on mechanical heating and cooling are reduced. in addition, a large water tank has been buried within the garden, while all roof water is captured and reused to flush toilets and for irrigation.

project info:

name: RaeRae house
site area: 464 sqm
house area: 371sqm
ground floor old: 64 sqm + ground floor new: 214 sqm = ground floor total: 278 sqm
first floor total: 93 sqm
completion date: january 2020

austin maynard architects project team: andrew maynard, mark austin, mark strahan, kathryne houchin
builder
: overend constructions
engineer
: co-struct
landscape: elarc P/L
interior styling: augie interiors
building surveyor: group ii building surveyors
energy consultant: efficient energy choices
photography: peter bennetts

philip stevens I designboom

jan 30, 2020

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