Revival, Melbourne, Australia
Honeyman + Smith

The site is 616 sq. m with footprint 275 sq. m and a total built area of 870 sq. m, completed in August 2013 as two dwellings on a single site. One would be used as the Client's residence, the second dwelling to be sold. The dwellings have been formed to appear as one, with material articulation reflecting the character of the suburb of Hawthorn and the adjacency to the industrial zone of Burnley over the river to the West. Interior photographs are taken throughout both dwellings and attempt to show dramatic contradictions between the changing spaces.

Floor plans illustrate how the brief is set around the concept of central public lobby spaces. To enhance these common spaces around areas of transit meant that a staircase, waiting area and meeting point could be celebrated architecturally rather than what is normally integrated into a core, isolated and ignored. Gothic Revival once was the predominant architectural language of this area of Hawthorn and Honeyman + Smith believed that the idea of implementing this style through modern architecture is a way of connecting to local character and identity. As a suburb of Melbourne, they think that too often the idea of character and the distinction between suburbs is lost with a focus on irrelevant trends.

Neo Gothic inspirations drawn from the history of Hawthorn developed an aesthetic and form that aspires to promote design for context and local significance. Challenging historic boundaries, the response seeks to engage the modern user as well as the existing fabric of the tight streets leading down to the Yarra River. The proximity to the heritage listed 'The Hawthorns' on Creswick Street inspired a reinterpretation of Gothic Revival. The form is intended to appear as a single home, in keeping with the historic context.

It was crucial for Honeyman + Smith to endeavour to re-introduce and modernise a design vernacular prevalent in Hawthorn but too often lost in modern schemes. Local bricks, concrete and steel form the basis of the dramatic response to site conditions. The interior palette and fixtures offer a timeless/classic approach, attempting to combine off-whites and vivid whites with bronze trims to subtly contrast the dark, heavy, vertical nature of the exterior. In order to bring the natural surroundings into the dwelling, a one off farm forestry veneer was used (from the Ottway Ranges).

The larger of the two residences uses oversized vertical openings to enhance and engage with the proportions of the scheme, the central axis connects to these openings throughout. The smaller scheme recesses larger opening to connect with the skyline to the West and Port Phillip Bay to the South.

Joinery was designed to embrace the vertical proportions of the fabric of this area of Melbourne. As well as a custom designed 'Lobby Chair,' capturing the essence of the project at a micro scale, assisting the experience of the user waiting, contemplating and preparing to move to one of the interconnected rooms or access points.

The two dwellings were orientated either side of a two layer concrete block party wall meaning that one dwelling was located on the Western side and the other on the East. Two very different orientations required careful treatment of openings/glazing to deal with excess heat on the West, and minimal sun exposure on the East. The central uninterrupted North-South axis in both dwellings allowed for cross ventilation to filter into the surrounding public and private spaces.

The interior selection included E zero board carcasses for joinery with a water based 2-pack finish and farm forestry veneer was used as well as Porter's Paints VOC free paint and Haymes low VOC paint throughout and Native Australian Blackbutt used for all stairs, internal trims and external doors. The exterior materials included local Daniel Robertson bricks and pavers, Porter's Paints cement render and local steel balustrades. Emphasis on thermal mass, cross flow, deep window and door reveals, orientation and obtaining local products where possible.

Friday 06 Jun 2014

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