The Vader House by Andrew Maynard Architects punctuates the suburban Melbourne landscape with angular and intriguing lines
Creative solutions are expected of Andrew Maynard, but the deeper you delve into the Vader House, the more astounding the findings. Boundary walls have been reclaimed as internal structures to make maximum use of every inch. Floors can be lifted to uncover a series of gems hidden beneath. And the louvres that provide shading and privacy can be peeled back to reveal the structure within.
“Strategic planning located the courtyard at the heart of the site,” explains Andrew, “allowing both the terrace and extension to have direct contact with this outside space. Definition between these internal and external environments is barely distinguishable.” A series of bi-fold doors extends between the old and new structures, and the simple glass canopy is easily overlooked — so when the bi-folds are open, the corridor appears unequivocally outdoors. This creates a closer relationship between the living spaces and courtyard to ensure its use in everyday family life. The timber decking retracts and beneath it sits a large, tranquil spa. The abundant natural light that reaches the courtyard provides an idyllic platform for the owners to sun themselves or bask about in the afternoon warmth.
Transparency remains a key feature of the Vader House. As a result, a strong connection is maintained between the new pavilion and the original Victorian terrace. Existing boundary walls — now internal walls too — are left bare and provide a stunning juxtaposition with the contemporary new living space within. No attempt is made to disguise the discord of styles yet the new hard and sharp lines, industrial materials and bold use of red meld easily into the original brick void.
The kitchen revolves around a stainless-steel island bench and cylindrical extractors are a major focal point of the room. The stainlesssteel columns draw your attention to the generous ceiling height and the crisp transition of the rooflines to where the loft is nestled. Accessed via the statement red stairs, the loft provides additional sitting room and a small study area to tend to paperwork and official tasks. Beneath the stairs, the kitchen cupboards are cleverly integrated to again maximise the area gained by the extension.
“The open and seemingly simple nature of Vader House later reveals itself to be one of complexity and ambiguity,” Andrew shares. “Many elements of the design prove to servemultiple functions.” Heed his words and look a little deeper to discover the cellar beneath the room’s timber flooring. The entry is accessed by lifting a trapdoor in the floorboards and the stairs lead deep below.
But not everything requires you to look deeper to see its splendour. The new bathroom is a brilliant cube lined with red mosaic tiles — floor, walls and ceiling — and is punctured by an abundance of glass. Huge windows look out to greenery planted alongside, and a tall narrow window provides a view of the courtyard (with a modesty panel able to be pulled down when required). One corner of the ceiling has also been removed and replaced with glass, allowing natural light to flood in throughout the day.
While most of the renovation is concentrated in the back end of the property, the original terrace was not left untouched. “Unexpectedly a The kitchen joinery is cleverly incorporated under the feature stairs random piece of the renovation has lodged itself deep within the walls of the original building. This floating block provides the master bedroom with an ensuite reflecting its downstairs companion, fusing the terrace to the extension and giving a glimpse of what one will experience as they move through the site.” The ensuite brings with it the transparent (and red) qualities from the Vader pavilion. A large sliding door can only shield one zone at a time, so either the shower or vanity is exposed to the bedroom at any given time. This bold introduction does not seem out of place despite it residing within the Victorian styling of the terrace that still houses much of the family’s private space.
Each of these new elements, Maynard concludes, “alters the nature of their spaces significantly, providing the extension with a dynamic and chameleon-like interior”.
This project was designed by
ANDREW MAY NARD ARCHITECTS
Tel: 03 9939 6323
Cost: $600,000 for 155m2
This project was built by
Tel: 03 8309 9999
Joinery: Creative Kitchen Workshop
Bench: Stainless steel
18mm folded plate steel treads with
1.5mm black Butynol roof membrane
Aluminium operable louvres with
black anodised finish from
Steel-framed bi-fold doors and
windows by Skyrange; sashless
sliders by Aneeta; glass from Viridian
Spa: Out of the Blue
Decking: Spotted gum