This inner-city warehouse-style home in Melbourne, Australia, was originally a mechanic's workshop, literally stripped to its very 'bones'. Rather than demolish what remained, architect Stephen Jolson retained a number of those bare external walls, as well as recycling the bricks, when he transformed the site into his latest residential project. 'These bricks provide a sense of the site's history and add to the strength and texture of this place,' he says. The architect used them to create a woven pattern of red-blue coloured clinker bricks to provide a backdrop for this striking contemporary home.
While the facade appears impermeable, the three-level house has been thoughtfully conceived to embrace the surrounding views of the leafy neighbourhood. Designed for a client who has an appreciation for books and art, the house has been customised for these fine collections. An extraordinary two-storey high bookshelf 'pierces' the two lower levels. And at ground level, retractable mesh walls allow for the display of artworks. 'Our client's artwork, objects and furniture were presented to us at the start of our briefing process,' says Jolson, who was mindful of the need for generous storage in all areas. 'The sliding art storage walls (at ground level) allow for pieces to be stored as well as reconsidered for future hanging,' he adds.
To maximise natural light, Jolson located the kitchen, dining and main living area on the first floor. The third and top level, accessed by stairs as well as a lift, are given over to the main bedroom suite, together with a sumptuous study. The piece de resistance takes the form of the expansive terrace leading from the living areas and offering an impressive view of Melbourne's skyline.
Rather than concealing objects and artefacts, as so many architects do to create a minimal aesthetic, here the personality of the client reigns. 'We loved expressing our client's passion for books and art. Our textural backdrop was more than sufficient,' adds Jolson modestly.