The Ark is the renovation, renewal and third interpretation of a holiday home by Bower Architecture, located in Point Lonsdale , a coastal town in Victoria, Australia. The residence has been enjoyed by the same family for 60 years. The original 1950’s beach shack was renovated in the early 1980’s and designed by architect and former National President of the AIA John Castles.
Description from the architect:
The Ark is the latest evolution of the dwelling, necessitated by a growing extended family and constant wear of the tough coastal environment. The existing house included a striking two storey curved wall, second storey raking roof and timber cladding oriented at 45 degrees. The challenging brief asked to retain and celebrate these elements whilst enlarging the living spaces to create a light filled, relaxed and playful family beach house.
The refurbishment of the original building included a complete recladding in spotted gum shiplap angled at 45 degrees. Notions of a continuous timber skin wrapping a sculptural form are evident and are further emphasised by the addition of a timber rain screen over the raking roof.
The new addition, added to the northern side of the existing building, increases the size of the kitchen and living spaces as well as providing an attached bedroom/bathroom pavilion. Whist the refurbished original building appears sculpted and smoothed over time, the new building is bolder and sharply rectilinear in form.
Clad in a rougher, radially-cut pine board and batten system, sections are carved away to reveal warm timbers and living space beneath. Demarcation of old and new is critical to The Ark and culminates in a slice (appearing as windows and skylight) between the original building and new. Internally, the language of the original design is reinterpreted with tiling and kitchen timber ceiling often oriented at 45 degrees and the curved island kitchen bench reminiscent of the curved external wall. Externally the sloping topography of the site encourages a stepped outdoor living area that traces the site downwards.
Photos: Shannon McGrath
This partly 2 storey home was designed to accommodate an extended family of eight on a relatively modest site within a dense urban context. A bedroom for each of the four children, one for the parents and another possibly for grandparents, generous living spaces and a swimming pool were key to the brief.
Situated in a relatively intact heritage streetscape in Balaclava the project required an approach that restored the street presence of the original Victorian weatherboard, badly disfigured over time and added the spaces required by the family.
The strategy was to divide the house into two discreet buildings, old and new, separated by a large central courtyard and reconnected by a glazed link. The courtyard with its pool, gives the new building its northern aspect and is conceived as an extension of the communal spaces of the home which surround it on three sides. It also bestows the old building a formal autonomy.
The original building fabric was stripped back to its salvageable elements and the footprint reduced to form a seemingly freestanding cottage at the front of the site. The exterior was then carefully restored to its original Victorian character.
Internally spaces of the old house were reconfigured to become an office, library/living room and guest bedroom. The volume of the original structure was exploited in the new layout to create a grand living space.
A new two storey timber clad building was constructed at the rear of the property facing the old cottage across the courtyard and pool. Its angular form, commenced as a response to planning constraints, evolved into a subtle geometry that shaped the envelope and influenced the plan of both buildings.
The family’s bedrooms are accommodated upstairs. At ground floor an irregular open plan of living space flows around large kernels of service space. A glazed link with built in daybed borders the pool exploiting the morning sun.
The original entry was eschewed for a new access sequence leading from the street, down the eastern side of the original house and into the central courtyard. At this point, one is embraced by the home. Full height glazing to three sides allows views into all parts of the ground floor. Entry to the home is via the solid “front” door into the new building.
Should weather permit, glazed panels slide away to open the house out completely, integrating indoor and outdoor spaces. Travertine unifies the floor plane, internally and externally. Timber is celebrated in the beautifully crafted cladding and interior panelling.
This is not a big house. Considered planning and the integration of indoor and outdoor achieve a generosity and variety of communal spaces for the family at odds with the actual size of the building. Private areas are restrained and humble. It is an urban home that functions successfully for a multi-generational family and its evolving needs.
Photos: Peter Clarke
Templestowe Residence is an expansive single story home designed by Christopher Elliott Design, located in Templestowe, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. “We are all familiar with the wise saying “a stitch in time saves nine”, but this proverb does not best describe the approach taken by the previous owners of this expansive single storey house, towards the maintenance of their property. In fact the house and its gorgeous surrounding gardens; although ideally located amongst the rolling hills of Templestowe, were a veil to the outdated rooms and darkened interior that lay within.”
So by the time the current owners had purchased it they were rather overwhelmed as to how they would transform this awkward 1970’s property into a stunning home. Fear not, they called in the expert eye of Christopher Elliott; who had recently completed the design of their friend’s house.
From the onset, it was clear to Christopher a complete overhaul of the disjointed internal architecture was in order; for the existing layout didn’t take full advantage of the picturesque garden outlook and left many rooms unutilised. Christopher’s new floor plan design brought unity to the architecture and enabled a more intuitive relationship between each of the various rooms of the house. Pivotal to the new design was the decision to open large sections of the house onto the pre-existing centrally located pool and courtyard via large expansive sliding doors, installed throughout the living spaces and the master bedroom.
These modifications provided the house with a beautiful tranquil vista and some much-needed natural light; it was also the inspiration for the new colour scheme. Christopher’s new design also incorporated all of the necessary state-of-art modern conveniences and luxuries expected from a house of this calibre, which in some instances required striping the house back to its bare bones. The extensive renovation would also provide a clean backdrop for a new tailor made interior design, better suited to the client’s lifestyle.
The first phase of the project involved altering the access into the master bedroom via a newly appointed ‘parents retreat’ which was previously an unused storage space and blocking off the old entrance from the kids study area. Thus providing more privacy and separation for the clients from their two growing teenage boys, now who wouldn’t want that? Also, the remodelling of the master bedroom incorporated a spare bedroom that was transformed into a beautiful, generous walk in robe and the previous inadequately sized walk in robe and ensuite became one large ensuite with a separate toilet. As you can guess, this house was not short of space!
The second phase of the project included the complete demolition and reinstatement of the properties kitchen, study, spare bedroom, both formal and casual living/dining spaces. The massive renovation was a bold direction but took all of the previously unused areas, and there were many, transforming and simplifying them into functional, practical and enjoyable spaces with the kitchen at the heart of the design. And what a big heart it is!
The kitchen island bench alone is an impressive seven metres long, clad in a stunning ‘Super White’ marble and with a butler’s pantry come laundry extending off from the kitchen that can be completely concealed with the closing of the full height sliding door. The new design meant many of the existing internals walls were removed and subsequently new engineered support beams were required to underpin the large ‘A’ frame roof, but these were cleverly concealed behind feature timber posts. That was also aesthetically a way of partitioning adjoining spaces without totally blocking either the light or the view.
The third and final phase of the project was the most rewarding for the clients, for it is when they could finally begin to truly experience the wonderful results of Christopher’s thoughtful and meticulous design. Many of the previous decisions and choices lay the foundations of the design, but it was not until the final selection of the furniture, decoration and artwork were in place, could they fully appreciate the vision Christopher had all along.
Most of the furniture and artwork for this project were made-to-order and in some instances Christopher specifically designed pieces of furniture to suit. This process also included the commissioning of several artists’ works. One significant piece that hangs above a colourful custom-made sideboard in the dining space was a beautiful work by renowned Australian artist Andrew O’Brien. This dynamic artwork, visible from the front entrance, sets the tone for the entire house, one that is bold, brave and surprising.
Photos: Sharyn Cairns
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