Positioned in a heritage area of Canberra, this Forrest home adheres to strict development guidelines set out by the Heritage Councils while addressing the client’s brief for a modern house with classical façade. Adjoining a significant architectural home by Malcolm Moir on Melbourne Avenue, the house creates a small footprint to the street to proportion itself within its context and relate to the local character.
The street is one of narrowest in Forrest and is only used by residents and their guests, allowing the entrance sequence to become an architectural gesture of a ‘romantic expression’. The house was designed to the maximum height addressing the street, reducing to single level at the rear, preserving neighbour’s privacy. Two terraces located on either side of the meals area create volumes of light to flood into the centre of the house. This combined with raised ceilings and highlight windows capture the northern sun and views to surrounding trees, maximising the quality of the indoor environment.
The house was designed around a central axis, the systematic allocation of rooms were planned around the axis to fully utilise space, circulation, ambiance and light. We nominated the axis through the site from the verge through the house into the garden and pool area. Circulation by 2m wide hallways were designed around the axis, off which everything is accessible. Adjacent to the axis near the entrance is the smaller, more intimate formal area that overlooks the northern garden. The axis is drawn further into the block through the family room and alfresco area into the garden and landscaping. The axis bisects upstairs, with the kids bedrooms and living perfectly balancing the master suite and common bathroom. Centralised to this floor is the circulation to the rooftop terrace via an inspired spiral stairway. Access to the basement and retreat is through the lift a stairway directly located adjacent to the central axis.
Consideration of the clients current needs and responding to their future needs ensures the longevity of the home, however it’s the ‘Genius Loci’ a sense of place that creates the feeling of home. We are confident that this home invokes the intangible qualities of ‘Genius Loci’, creating a welcoming home that feels safe and calm.