Mills, The Toy Management House by Austin Maynard Architects
Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions): National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
Each city generates particular kinds of projects and architectural problems. In Melbourne, Victorian terrace houses raise questions of scale, privacy and access to natural light. Melbourne’s weather brings another challenge to the design.
In a daring departure from the default response to Melbourne’s cold climate, Austin Maynard Architects has responded to this terrace project by opening up the interior of the house to a modest outdoor volume subtracted from the centre of the plan. In this way, the architects ask why shouldn’t we engage more openly with the nuances of each setting, including, in this instance, its colder temperatures?
Mills, The Toy Management House is a sophisticated work despite its project title suggesting a singular idea. A complex interior floor terrain provides more than a storage solution for children’s toys. At ground level the floor folds up and down throughout the length of the house to generate a series of incidental surfaces for storage or perching. In other places the floor terrain delineates more formal “rooms” and furniture arrangements within the open-planned volume.
This bold and whimsical project makes exemplary suggestions as to how one might (re)-occupy this small historic building type to accommodate the expansive program of contemporary family life.