Kate’s House

Kate’s House

Architect
Bower Architecture and Interiors
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Project Year
2015
Category
Private Houses
Shannon McGrath

Kate’s House

Bower Architecture and Interiors as Architects

“A house for living in!” exclaimed the client in the early stages. “Textured and warm with a touch of whimsy – but no stunts that will date..” With this in mind we collaborated with the client to explore brief and site opportunities for a house that appears to reveal itself effortlessly, a series of spaces that feel meant to be. The design concept resisted the addition of a second storey, utilising every part of the site to stitch a new single storey extension in between existing street facing bedrooms and the original garage at the rear.


The need to house unique artwork combined with opportunities for memorable entry experiences, framed views and varied garden connections in the pursuit for joyful, practical and surprising spaces. A new screened carport cradles and softens the proportions of the retained frontage and becomes integral to the arrival journey, leading to entry into an intimate courtyard at the centre of the house. This courtyard is continually re-experienced - a pivotal space between public, family and private areas.


East-west orientated galleries buffer kid’s areas from living zones, provide natural cross ventilation and welcome differing qualities of natural light during the day. The cross section of the house continually compresses and expands as it gently terraces down the site, level with the garden. Sustainable passive performance is optimised through zoning and orientation, solar power and a 20,000L watertank add to these measures.


Views are deliberately framed - blade walls are embraced to house artwork, direct and refrain from specific outlooks and provide a sense of enclosure. Long sightlines are sparingly used to provide only glimpses beyond, maintaining the drama of experiencing each space upon arrival. The little surprises – touches of brass, leather, steel and discovered gems of colour are both considered and cherished. The house is photographed as it is lived in – full of family “stuff” from daily life on display, not meant for hiding away. This gallery for living in has an abundant and experiential richness which cannot be fully described with drawings and photos alone.

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