Block House 2

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Having acquired a steeply sloping corner block overlooking the Maribyrnong River, the clients brief was for a modest family home, although somewhat extravagantly, to include a lap pool and wine cellar. This was a unique challenge on a steep slope with a 7m height difference from front to back.

The site has easterly views over the Maribyrnong River valley, but otherwise sits within a regular suburban context. A 6m height limit imposed by the estate developer, and the positioning of a 12m long lap pool proved to be the main difficulties with the planning. Our response is to create two rectilinear forms; the first of concrete blocks which cut into the site and the second a lightweight, charcoal stained timber clad box that is slid back toward the top of the site, whilst overhanging the masonry base. All of the ‘action’ is focused toward the sun and the views (north and east) of the building. The southern face contains only the main entry and with its lack of windows or other fenestration- it is a more sculptural form of intersecting planes, presenting to the street.

The upper level contains the bedrooms, with the secondary rooms to the rear and an activity space with direct access to an outdoor play area. The main bedroom faces north-east capturing the views across the valley. The lower level comprises the main living spaces, opening out to a north facing paved terrace and the section of the lap pool that sits above ground. Connecting the two external spaces is an outdoor stair with a mid-landing, at pool level and a paved amphitheatre to a small grass area with the play space beyond a pool fence.

Cut into the bottom of the site, and supporting the paved terrace and lap pool is garaging for two cars and direct access up into the kitchen on the living floor past the wine cellar. The contrasting material palette, in the textural grey blocks, the dark timber and the sleek glass and steel box provide a sculptural yet simple form in a comfortable and liveable home.

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