written by:
photos by:
April 11, 2015
A playful renovation in Melbourne creates a series of gabled structures.
Clustered Tower House with steel and cedar facade in Melbourne

Inspired by Sydney Opera House, Maynard, and Austin paid careful attention to the extension’s “fifth elevation"—the way it’s seen from the sky. “The roof plan, rather than the street façade, is now the most public face of a building thanks to Google Earth,” they explain. Its tiny houses, clustered at the southern end of the property, are clad in white steel panels and western red cedar shingles, contrasting materials that emphasize their geometric forms.

Photo by 
1 / 11
Tower House modern gabled addition

From the street, only the main house and one adjoining addition are visible, belying the spacious extension at the back. The architects call this the “Tardis effect,” named for the time machine on Dr. Who that looks much smaller on the outside than it does within.

Photo by 
2 / 11
Rope hammock loft for kids

Spinning off the living room on the north side of the main house, the children’s study sits separately from the other pavilions. On its upper level, Oxley netting forms a web on which the kids and their friends can sit and read with views of the leafy street and garden. 

Photo by 
3 / 11
Modern renovated bathroom in Australia

In the main bathroom, Art Deco crown molding reminds residents of the house’s past. New fixtures include white laminate cabinets and sinks and faucets by Roger Seller. 

Photo by 
4 / 11
Living room with a timber-lined hallway

The owners furnished the living room with a mixture of new and old pieces, including a Hans Wegner lounger and Tuckbox coffee table. A timber-lined hallway leads out from it to the newer parts of the home. Sections of steel-framed double glazing separate and accentuate each “house” while letting in glimpses of sky. 

Photo by 
5 / 11
Dining room with Arne Jacobsen chairs

The dining room serves as the hub for all activity. Original Series 7 chairs by Arne Jacobsen complement a table Maynard designed and dubbed the “Zero Waste Table,” since it utilizes every inch of a large wood sheet. To the right, a sliding door opens to the garden. 

Photo by 
6 / 11
Native landscaping at the Tower House in Australia

“It was very important to get the integration between the garden and the house right,” Maynard says. The architects worked with Bush Projects to strike that balance, laying down concrete pavers and planting native flora that add to the home’s relaxed feel. Permanent steel awnings protect windows from glare, while retractable fabric ones by Shadefactor offer residents optional shelter when they sit outside. 

Photo by 
7 / 11
Custom plywood and steel cabinets in Australia

The house’s dominant gable form repeats at a smaller scale throughout the dwelling, as in the kitchen’s plywood and steel cabinets. “The gable became thematic throughout the process,” Maynard explains. “Whenever issues arose, we referred back to it as a default, rather than adding a new idea." The sink is by Abey, faucet by Franke, and range by Qasair. 

Photo by 
8 / 11
Gum wood library in Australia

The library is lined in reclaimed spotted gum that Maynard says “brings with it wisdom from its previous life.” A stained glass window by Leigh Schellekens makes the contemplative room feel like a domestic chapel. 

Photo by 
9 / 11
Built-in reading nooks in a modern library

Responding to restrictions set by local planning authorities, the architects lowered the library’s floor level to preserve its cathedral ceilings. “We try to work with problems, not against them,” Maynard says. “You now descend three steps into the studio and discover the desk at garden height, rather than above it.” The solution also allowed for the installation of built-in reading nooks.

Photo by 
10 / 11
White fence on the exterior of an Australia home

A small country road borders the property to the west. 

Photo by 
11 / 11
Clustered Tower House with steel and cedar facade in Melbourne

Inspired by Sydney Opera House, Maynard, and Austin paid careful attention to the extension’s “fifth elevation"—the way it’s seen from the sky. “The roof plan, rather than the street façade, is now the most public face of a building thanks to Google Earth,” they explain. Its tiny houses, clustered at the southern end of the property, are clad in white steel panels and western red cedar shingles, contrasting materials that emphasize their geometric forms.

Neighborliness can seem like a thing of the past in many suburbs today, a trend that architects Andrew Maynard and Mark Austin were hoping to counter when they approached the renovation and extension of a weatherboard home outside Melbourne for a couple and their eight-year-old twins.

“Increasingly Australian houses are becoming fortified under the pretence of privacy,” Maynard explains. “We try to do the opposite.” Instead of designing another closed-off contemporary work of architecture, the architects created a village, wherein a series of friendly, gabled structures lead out from the original house and border an open garden. The front yard has a communal vegetable patch that neighbors are invited to use; the back fence, though tall, is see-through; and the gates are also designed to be left open wide.

But there’s still room for introspection. In the the main house, sliding panels divide large, shared spaces into smaller, cloistered ones. The addition also contains cozy reading nooks where the residents can quietly recharge. The home sits in the sweet, thoughtful balance between solitude and community.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016