Enduring. Gentle. Luminous. Beyond accommodating the client’s aspirations for their home, and to age in place, the architecture of Park House is defined by these three qualities.
Designed to be enduring by way of material and construction choices, it is imagined as a beautiful potential ruin. Masonry forms all interior and exterior walls creating a resilient, somewhat labyrinthine shell. A home to delight and nurture current and future occupants for decades to come.
The work recalls that of the Victorian moderns by synthesising structure, surface, and form, particularly through the use of masonry as finish inside and out. Substantial in size yes but more importantly in its materiality, the architecture seeks a quality that is bone deep. Expression comes via a direct and restrained palette and the considered arrangement of the brickwork as unit. Deep reveals and walls with extended cavities for extra width achieve spatial depth and mass.
In its gradual shift of scale from street to rear, Park House wavers between a suburban modesty and grandeur. The house has an enigmatic neighbourly presence and its low-key street façade belies its size. The draped roof over the length of the plan creates a gentle silhouette beside the park to the east. A nod to Boyd’s Walsh Street house, in form, if not in structure. Below this the interior compresses and expands relative to sleeping and living use. At its peak it soars and is undomestic in scale and association.
The roof as parasol under which habitation can occur yields the desired coolth and a poetic darkness from which to feel relief from the intense, bleached landscape framed by its overhangs. The protected space recalls the generous, deep verandas of the colonial homestead. Lined with timber the curved soffit is always present, a point of continuity between all the spaces of the upper floor.
Much of the interior’s sense of calm and delight comes from the filtering of light. Holding the eastern façade together is a veil of woven mesh, which softens morning light and allows daytime views out to the park while maintaining privacy. A feathering of the soffit to the central gallery and rear veranda tempers the intensity of summer light, whilst allowing winter sun to penetrate the eaves edge.
Designed as a home for life the, the first floor plan, on grade with the street, contains all core spaces for single level living. Below this primary level are guest areas and service spaces – garage, shed, cellar. A single building envelope encompasses what were once outbuildings in a total composite of house.