That House, located in Melbourne, Australia, was designed by Austin Maynard Architects as an open floor plan with private spaces. Constructing the home as three separate volumes created this open verses private design. And by stacking the three structures pyramid style, the two main level volumes are separated by a walkway that connects the front and back gardens.
Other aspects of the open verses private design are the floor to ceiling, wall to wall glazings on both the front and back facades while the east and west sides are virtually windowless.
The terrace at the front of the home is open to the sky, allowing a tree to grow through it and yet at the same time is closed off to the elements, allowing the homeowners to enjoy the outdoors and stay dry on a rainy day.
Focusing the glazings on the north and south elevations has optimized passive solar gain. And since this is a densely populated neighborhood, the windows have been fitted with Bottom Up blinds rather than Top Down, to ensure privacy when needed while still maintaining a view of the garden and sky.
At the back of the home, a fourth volume contains the above ground swimming pool clad in the same horizontal wood siding as the house.
A large water tank is buried in the backyard, fed by roof water. The roof water is then reused to water the gardens and flush the toilets. There are also Photovoltaic panels with micro converters covering the roofs.
The home is approached by a wood walkway with LEDs inserted into the edges. The walkway leads to the main entrance – a glass door, and the second glass door is on the other side of the indoor front-to-back walkway. When both are closed, the wood path is no longer a part of the outdoor zone, but when both doors are opened, it takes on the aesthetic of an outdoor tunnel.
On the way to the front door, the home office is past, as this volume protrudes further into the front yard than the other main level volume does.
Behind the study and just to the right of the main entrance is the first of two lounge areas. An open shelving unit creates a false wall to the tunnel walkway, and across from it, a closed wood clad wall hides the laundry room.
The same detail is used on a hinged wall that separates the home office from the lounge and on the small bathroom within the home office.
Across from the lounge and to the left of the main entrance, is the dining room which is tucked into the space behind the stairwell and a small outdoor courtyard surrounded by glass.
The stairwell is a continuous folded and perforated sheet metal design.
The stairwell is powder-coated white, to blend harmoniously with the all white kitchen behind it.
The all white kitchen is punctuated with black elements via the light pendants and the bar stool seats, and with nature itself via the glassed courtyard and the tree on the terrace just past the dining zone.
The kitchen also opens up to a second lounge which then opens up to the grassy area, across from an outdoor dining area and the pool in the backyard.
The outdoor dining area is tucked into the space between the home and the pool and underneath the overhang of the upstairs volume.
The upstairs overhang is created by the master suite, one of the three bedrooms located upstairs.
The bedroom at the front of the house has its own terrace created by one of the downstairs volumes. The other volume offers a bit of up-close and personal greenery via the terrace tree, as it reaches for the sky through the terrace ceiling void.
While the master suite has its own ensuite, the other two bedrooms share a toilet room and a tub/sink room located between them.
The ground floor plan.
The first floor plan.
Austin Maynard Architects.
Photography by Tess Kelly.
While That House is not large, its geometric, stacked design of glass volumes visually minimizes its overall size even more. Similarly, a stacked concrete box house appears much smaller than it actually is.