Domenic Cerantonio, Chris Stribley, Kevin Chau, Jamie Volek
The design references classical architectural proportions to bring with it a sense of authority and balance which sees the building at home amongst the established architecture of the area. This traditional organization of the façade is then articulated with minimal contemporary detailing in order to allow the materiality of the building to take centre stage.
Taking cues from the natural tones found in the adjacent Yarra River, clay coloured bricks with a colour matched grout have been used as the primary material. The bricks are laid in a way that forms a rough texture, in order to balance the strict formal arrangement of the design.
The entrance to the building also references the Yarra, which takes people from the street down a sweeping curved pathway, through a landscaped garden before arriving at the entrance lobby.
By using curved journeys through the building a sense of withdrawal and reveal is created. This language was inspired by the way the river constantly reveals new views and pockets of space as you follow the curves of its banks. Finally, the design allows for a series of stepping terraces to its southern boundary, enabling planting to cover much of the buildings profile. This not only allows an easy relationship with its neighbours, but provides an inviting view of planting to its occupants.
The existing 750-square-metre site contained an old double-storey residence in unrenovated condition. A single cross over exists on site with large street trees to Lansell Rd.
Site envelope is extruded and inset by 2 metres to all edges to allow deep planting space around entire proposal and provide a visual break between neighbouring properties.
The site falls approximately 4 metres over a 39-metre length at an angle of 5.8 degrees. A 12-metre height limit is set, and proposed floors are split at the centre of the site to reduce overall height as much as possible. The number of storeys is restricted to 3 at any cross section of the site.
An architectural opportunity to separate the two primary volumes of the proposal is introduced with a circular cutout where the floor levels are split. This cutout is then used to plant a feature canopy tree, which provides privacy for both residents and neighbours.
The rear setback is increased to over 4 metres to create a backyard for the rear dwelling and allow retention of the established Japanese cedar tree at the rear of the site. Multiple front setbacks introduced to break up visual mass of building and match neighbouring dwellings.
Side setbacks introduced and planted out to provide privacy/screening and a visual break for both occupants and neighbours.
The top floor is then setback further to create a recessive upper level which is articulated separately from the lower form of the building. These setbacks are then realised as north facing terrace space.
The building is then finished with a classic brick façade to the lower floors and a darker recessive upper level. Significant landscaping then completes the simple and timeless material palette.