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Vader House, Melbourne, Australia

Wednesday 21 Jan 2009

House of contradictions

Copyright Peter Bennetts/Andrew Maynard Architects 
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28/01/09 Carol Norris, Johannesburg
Singularly unimpressive from the photos shown here. Stark and unwelcoming -
no warmth, although none of the "Victorian" side was shown.

A personal opinion only.


Victorian house revived by modern extension 

The Vader House presents a series of contradictions which unify creating a new pulse for this Victorian terrace. A large extension to the rear of the building holds dimensions only possible due to the high boundary walls, built in disregard of existing height regulations long before such rules were created, which permitted a non-standard height along the northern boundary. From here the roofline abruptly turns to follow the dictated set-back lines, resulting in a playful and telling interpretation of planning rules.

The design as a whole is both playful with a bold use of colour, outdoor pool and mezzanine level, yet practical offering sensible zoning of the living, bathing and working areas and a rational movement order within the space.

With double-height ceilings, exterior brick facades reclaimed as interior walls, a hard-edged staircase and large steel chimneys, the interior presents an industrial aesthetic but remains homely by careful use of lighting, compartmentalising of the zones and the social interpretation of the space - the living, cooking, working and playing zones all within audible and visual reach of one another.

Transparency of the double-height glass facade and glazed corridor leading to the main building and the double folding doors to the courtyard and pool connect the indoor and outdoor spaces creating a new outdoors centre to the property and uniting all three spaces as a whole.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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