This family home has been extended forward from its original site between three massive elm trees. The new spaces have been elevated as interlocking platforms set over the original floor levels to gain greater views across the city and to create a partially subterranean understorey containing garage and cellar. The arrangement of the new spaces, and the extensions to the old, have been profoundly affected by the position of each tree as the linear arrangement of the plan shifts to find a course through the spaces between. New cladding systems of Eucalyptus Obliqua and zinc sheeting suggest the rhythm of the new stud framing signifying the new wings to the north and south. All the original walls between have been rendered a neutral off-white. Substantial alterations to the landscape extend the new patterns of the house to each of the site boundaries.
The second stage alterations and additions to a small house, designed in 1951 by architect Horace Tribe, in the Melbourne suburb of Kew have made this a substantial family residence of commodious elegance, honed practicality and Melburnian style. The new interior now narrowly focuses north and south on views of large mature elms, and widely west through a three level open lens of glazing to the street and views of the inner city. The interior is a masterwork of considered function, intricate detail, crafted finish and rational stacking. Details, such as a long, shin-high, tilted polished timber display shelf against the large western window, impress through their demonstrative inventiveness. In the case of the shelf, it provides carefully measured privacy from the street, enabling the main sitting and entertainment room to be used at night without blinds or screening. The house achieves a relaxed and rational separation of zones - kitchen/dining, children’s bedrooms, children’s television and play room, music room, office, sitting room and main bedroom - with an ease that disguises the presumably difficult exercise of resolving complex spatial and service issues, issues that are made even more complex by the evolving primary forms of the house and its engineering.
|Kew Residence |
Project Architect, Design Architect John Wardle. Project Team Andrew Byrne, Stefan Mee, David Andrew, Beatrix Rowe, Andrea Vecciascavalli, Andrew Wong, Glen Chamberlain. Structural Consultant John Horton Engineering Group. Landscape Design John Wardle. Interior Designer Beatrix Rowe. Acoustic Consultant Watson, Moss, Growcott. Builder Building Makers. Photography Trevor Mein.