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Two-storey family home in glass reinforced concrete with pool on tight site

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Contemporary residence with central spine by architect Craig Rossetti and interior design by Doherty Lynch responds to awkward site. Timber inserts and verandahs call to mind traditional Victorian homes

Two-storey family home in glass reinforced concrete with pool on tight site Discover this article's resources 0

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Architecture is often a response to variousexternal imperatives, such as the size and shape of a site. Another requirement can be linking in with the immediate neighbourhood in terms of scale and form. Additionally, the architect has to create a home that is cohesive and welcoming in its own right.

This house was the second that the owners had asked architect Craig Rossetti to design for them. Happy with the first, they gave him free rein on the new residence. However, there were several environmental factors to consider, not least the unusual shape of the site, says Rossetti.

"To optimise the tapering plot we set the pool at the front of the home. This noses into the otherwise unusable long, triangular yard."

Again in direct response to the site, Rossetti decided to create the contemporary home as three intricately connected forms. At left a rectilinear form contains the garage, laundry and a children's play area to the rear. The central glass-walled, double-height atrium has its own L-shaped roof. This suspended element looks as if it has been pulled apart from the two storey right-hand building, which has the living spaces downstairs and bedrooms upstairs.

"The house responds to adjacent neighbours in different ways," says Rossetti. "The double garage seamlessly connects with the garage of the 1950s home next door in height and colour."

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"The other side of the site is bordered by a tennis court and a commercial precinct with a library beyond. To create a balance of scale with these elements, we introduced a high curving fence that neatly bisects the front yard, with the driveway to the left and pool to the right. Large windows with industrial-look fenestrations in the living areas complement this commercial side of the site."

The glass-reinforced concrete house has a modern, air but also captures the spirit of the wider suburb, which boasts several heritage-listed Victorian homes. Its two-storey height, floor-to-ceiling narrow slot windows, wood frame insertions, black metal columns and long veranda together provide an abstracted sense of the shape and form of the turn-of-last-century homes. A brass mirror in the front wooden insert is also a material nod to the 1900s when the metal was in common use.

While the responsive architecture embraces its surroundings, it also draws visitors into the heart of the residence, says the architect.

"The entry path follows the central front fenceline and continues inside to form the spine of the home. Dividing the residence in this way helped optimise the footprint and interior space planning required by the awkward site. "

And while this corridor extends through to the rear yard, its curved form only reveals what's ahead by degrees. The foyer seems to draw in between the two outer building forms, an effect accentuated by its soaring 6m height.

From here, stairs to the left lead to a study while entry into the house proper is at the right.

The walkway's feel of compression followed by openness is repeated when moving from the atrium into the interior. Room-height cabinet inserts – one a bathroom, the other a pantry – flank the entry, giving way to the light, white public spaces that run the length of the home.

The living area faces the front pool while a blade wall with inset fireplace offers a partial divide from the kitchen and dining area beyond. The owner of the house is a commercial builder and showcased his skills through the interiors – seen, for example, in the coffers for lighting bays that break up the long ceiling plane.

Concrete floors run right through the house; and glass-reinforced concrete, already seen in the home's cladding and front fence, is continued indoors with the kitchen benchtop. There are other material connections, as well. The brass on the antique mirror in the wooden frame at the front of the house is repeated as pendants above the island. A larger version provides a focal point in the atrium.

"The interiors are also intricately interconnected – for example, the glass kitchen splashback looks straight across the atrium into the playroom behind the garage," says Rossetti.

First published date: 18 September 2014

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Credit List

Architect Craig Rossetti, Craig Rossetti Architects (Richmond, VIC)
Interior designer and kitchen designer Doherty Lynch, Doherty Lynch Design Studio
Landscape designer John Patrick
Builder Steve Fennell, Upgrade Commercial Interiors
Kitchen manufacturer Andave Cabinets
Cladding and wall coverings Glass-reinforced concrete from GRC Environments
Roofing Lysaght Klip-Lok
Flooring Mentone Pre Mix polished concrete; spotted gum from Eco Timbers
Lighting Edward Linacre
Fireplace Jetmaster 6000 TRSI
Doors and windows Capral from Seelite Windows & Doors
Skylights Velux
Blinds and drapes Interior Solutions
Pool Craig Rossetti Architects
Kitchen cabinetry Two-pack finish
Benchtops Glass-reinforced concrete from GRC Environments
Splashback Clear glass
Kitchen sink and taps Abey
Oven cooktop, microwave, dishwasher Miele
Refrigeration LG