Seamless transition

Robert Mills Architects blur the boundary between inside and out

by James 02 December 2010
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    The clients’ brief  was a home that would nurture family and friends, and be inspiring and uplifting to live in. The block that the house is sited on came with two constraints: it was small in size (586 sq m) and on the southern side of the street. The architect dealt with these issues by reversing the conventional layout and providing a transparent and seamless transition between the interiors and exteriors to visually enlarge the space.

    The building’s footprint was pushed to the eastern and southern boundaries and the open-plan living area, opening onto a paved terrace with a pool, was located at the front of the house to capture the northern sun. Setting the house down slightly from street level into the gently sloping block afforded privacy to the occupants of the outdoor living area, as well as reducing the building’s finished height relative to those of its neighbours. Full-height glazing on either side of the living area affords uninterrupted views through the house and out to the open space, as well as allowing unimpeded cross-ventilation.

    As garden space is limited, a narrow planter bed runs the full length of the western boundary, wrapping around the southern courtyard providing the sense of encircling the house with greenery. Rainwater captured from the roof nurtures the plants, as well as refilling the pool and a decorative pond viewed from the dining area. A music room, study and powder room also share the ground level and are each accessed from the entrance hall, where a sculptural semi-circular staircase leads up to the private quarters on the first floor. The master suite, comprising the bedroom, a dressing room and ensuite, occupies the northern half of the floor. Three other bedrooms, each with their own ensuite, plus laundry, constitute the remainder.

    A lift links the ground and first floors with the basement where there is a media room, parking for three vehicles, a second laundry, powder room, plus a cellar and storeroom. The house embodies many elements that this practice believes in. It is well-built, with finely crafted, well-resolved and gracious interiors — a durable building that will serve its clients well and the generations who follow them, thus continuing to prove its sustainable credentials.


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