mcculloughmulvinarchitects

The House that John built (for Sarah)

This is a house for a growing family. It is a project that is a cumulation of thoughts about materiality that has evolved over a number of years in a true collaboration with the owners, who’s three-storey Victorian house was a blank canvas. The partnership involved the two owners – one the builder and the other the client – and a series of robust debates.

Our idea relates to two volumes that sit back to back. They touch at their intersection but don’t engage directly, one looks in to the other – like a love seat, looking over ones shoulder at the other. The concrete volume draws in the sky, the timber volume cuts in to the ground. The concrete has the imprint of the timber, like a memory of an earlier version of the design – appropriate for a scheme that developed as a concept over ten years.

We were interested in board-marked concrete and the experimentation of relief, surface and lining and in timber for both the concrete formwork and the kitchen lining. The garden room is a board-marked concrete cube with a double height funnel bringing in the light. The ply lined kitchen is made as a three dimensional lattice work with ceiling fins that thread the space together and full height doors; the warm light held in the carapace and reflecting from the sheen of the plywood. The spaces are linked with a concrete floor, and other smaller interventions thread the ideas through the house as a whole. The project continues in the garden and as the family learn how each space works best for work, play, and entertaining depending on the time of year and the way the light falls.

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