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Law Street House, Melbourne, Australia 
Wednesday 04 Jan 2012
 
Patience is a virtue 
 
Peter Bennetts 
 
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Award Entry

Australian Architects complete residence on weekends over 3 and half years 

Located in a tight single lane street the original dilapidated one bedroom workman's cottage built in the 1880s formed the initial brief for architect's/owner builders Bruno Mendes and Amy Muir. To pursue the desire to construct using one's own hands formed a very important part of the brief. While working full time in practice the new house was constructed on weekends over 3 and half years by the architects.

The site adjoined to the north and south neighbouring properties and contained by a rear property called for access to natural light and a view beyond. Flanked by a two storey modernist red brick façade and the ornamented timber cottage to the south, Law Street House became the fourth little pig providing a formal hybrid of the neighbouring properties.

Constructed from plate steel the façade adopts a condition of blankness concealing the second storey within the adjusted roof pitch mimicking the form of the site's former cottage. A ‘draw bridge' to the front window provides privacy and curates light to the front bedroom providing a signal of occupation to the house beyond.

Upon entry the double height corridor directs the gaze through the full length skylight to capture a view of the existing palm tree. The inversion of the enclosed cottage corridor is adopted in order to maximise the penetration of natural light to the interior and provide an aspect ‘out' of the tight site. Camouflage netting is drawn across the skylight during the summer months to defuse the light and heat gain.

A memory of the original lean to roof lines ripple across the underside of Level 1 defining the ‘section' of the house. The rear of the house forms a continuation of the ‘roof' folding down the façade. Internally the wall is pleated incorporating the heating panel and concealed blind to the window on Level 1.

Steel construction was adopted to combat the tight site and aggressive termites. Windows, doors, stairs, heating panels and joinery have been fabricated from steel puncturing the white interior. Tallowwood flooring was selected given that it is termite resistant. Respect is given to materials and their inherent natural qualities. Charcoal felt acoustic panels line the entry corridor defining the ‘section' of the house.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
Muir Mendes
www.muirmendes.com

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