Thursday 09 Aug 2012


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Manning Road House is situated in Melbourne's established south- eastern suburbs amongst predominantly historic red brick and tiled homes.


The brief called for a contemporary home for a young family of five, with additional accommodation for visiting family and friends. Central to the brief was the desire for an environment which would encourage communal family life, whilst also allowing areas for private retreat. The project is a result of a long-term friendship between client and architect and is the realisation of a shared vision, one that has evolved over the course of many journeys together. The resulting design is a manifestation of those experiences and the landscape, its forms, spaces, scale, colours, textures, light and materiality.

Two interconnecting interior volumes are linked via a central 23m continuous linear skylight along the spine of the house. This active spine connects a variety of both open and private spaces accommodating evolving family life. The Entry leads directly into this central volume, which guides visitors to the kitchen and main double height living and dining areas. Living spaces seamlessly extend into the garden and outdoor areas at the rear. Guest accommodation and children's bedrooms are located on the upper level. An open mezzanine Guest/Study links upper and lower levels via operable screen doors to the void. A parents' retreat and flexible secondary living space forms the ground floor western wing, offering privacy and separation.

The sculpted form of the volumes responds to the site and environmental influences whilst also acknowledging street and neighbourhood planning controls. Light scoops reach out from bedroom spaces to capture north light. Crevices between the volumes bring landscape, light and ventilation into the heart of the dwelling, providing a seasonal display of light and shadow via operable windows and screens.

In addition to core environmental principles of passive design and material choice, the dwelling is highly insulated with a considerable level of thermal mass resulting from the reverse brick veneer and concrete slab construction. Together with energy efficient double-glazing, the construction and materials assist in moderating the internal temperature. A 20,000 Litre underground water tank and grey water system moderate water consumption. A vented skin of Corten weathered steel wraps the building whilst openings with timber batten screens provide privacy and filter light. The materials are imbued with richness and softness by light and shadow. The limited palette is raw and elemental, minimising maintenance whilst evoking the memories of past experienced landscapes.

Noxon Giffen