House 20 presents a series of blades cantilevering over a bronze wall; pushing and pulling. A grassy knoll rises out of the earth below, being drawn up towards the jostling blades, and partially veiling the building’s elevation and under croft from the street’s vantage point. Below this point of arrival and shelter the offset rhythm and warmth of the bronze wall reveals itself.
Spanning from boundary to boundary, and wrapping within the glazed central entry door, this wall creates a planar datum and threshold of concealment. Beyond this threshold the ground floor interior is a continuum of flowing spatial events, with uninterrupted sight lines into the depth of the dwelling. Bold artworks identify spaces that progress from a formal entry, to formal living and dining, and finally casual living, bookended by a mass fireplace wall. The ground-plane opens up to the north with a series of staggered vertical blade columns which slice and define the programme. Here exists a tension between the interior and exterior – thresholds becoming blurred, as habitable space nestles within and without, whilst maximizing and controlling northern light, giving shelter, warmth, and continuity of space, continuity of materials.
Connecting the three storey internal volume is a glazed void, a room within a room, drawing through fresh air, light and the open elements. At its base a pond mirrors the sky and cools convecting air. Privacy and direct light are moderated via woven steel mesh, draped within as if the veil from an oversized lantern. The house rigorously conceals and integrates mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems. Seamless outcomes have been achieved by close collaboration with structural and services engineers, from earliest design conception to final resolution.
The first floor is the clients private retreat with roof terrace, master suite, library and study. Here the elevated façade can be engaged with at a very intimate level; channelling views out over the grassy knoll to the street’s plane trees. The contrasting light and dark furniture palette within articulates personality traits of the clients, distinguishing ‘her’ study from ‘his’.
The basement is half entrenched in the earth and half revealed. Here dark tones sit against slick bodies of water; focusing the sensory experience. A large retractable glass wall disappears to open the pool to the entertainment space , as light emanates from the light well – a grotto for fun, fitness and relaxation. House 20 is space inhabited between elemental plane, void and axis. Light, views, colour and texture are woven through the concrete blades to create a flowing interplay of spatial experiences.
Location: Melbourne, Australia Architect: Jolson Project name: House 20