This project sets out to explore the physical and tactile language of building materials. Using timber as the basis we explored how particular materials responded to touch, sight, sound, weight and patina; while investigating and interpreting their interaction with natural lights and shadows.
The internal planning is centred on the concept of layering spaces, orchestrating the rooms in a ‘mise-en-scene like methodology. Opening up the interior spaces allowed us to do away with the original rabbit warren of internal walls. Starting from the dramatic suspension of black raw steel, the staircase is the focal point upon entry; the interior then unfolds from the living room to the kitchen, then to the courtyard and dining room, finally concluding at the master bedroom and its private courtyard at the western end of the house. This methodology creates the illusion of a bigger, grander environment within the constraints of inner city living, while also allowing natural light to flood the open space reducing the need for artificial lighting.
The kitchen and dining room gaze toward a north facing courtyard with two pairs of double glazed sliding doors that span over 5 meters. In a Japanese courtyard house like manner, the internal and external spaces are seamlessly connected. The courtyard is fully decked with spotted gum, and it is decisively minimal, focused around a single Japanese maple tree which provides visual warmth, shade and decoration. As the courtyard is facing north the client has the ability to both open up and allow the natural heat and daylight to flow into the living spaces or simply close it off for greater control.
The careful selection of raw and recycled material was based on complementary textures which shape and humanize the space in an innovative and sustainable fashion. We wanted the meticulous balance between scale and playfulness to be symbiotic while allowing the integrity of each material to remain evident in the final result; this is apparent especially in the change of materials on the staircase. They begin as recycled timber sleepers on the lower flight followed by reconstituted stone which form both part of the kitchen bench top while also making up the first landing tread. The stairs then proceed to transform into black raw steel which has been folded and skillfully suspended to connect the ground to the existing first floor.Location: Richmond, Virginia, USA Architects: Architects EAT
Structural Engineer: R. Bliem and Associates Pty Ltd
Building Surveyor: Building Strategies
Builder: Sargant Construction
Landscaper: Matt Ford – Landshapes
Photographer: Albert Mo and James Coombe