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The Design Files covers Australian design in all its forms – from architecture and interiors to gardens, food, fine art and craft. Regular features on the site include Australian Homes every Wednesday, Tasty Tuesday every Tuesday, and Interviews with talented local creative people every Friday.
The Portsea House by Studio Esteta sits up high, overlooking the coastline of Port Phillip Bay, a stone’s throw from the Portsea Pier. The original mid-century residence has been updated to accommodate six (!) bedrooms, but the modernist character of the home has been thoughtfully retained.
The double storey home has been renovated within the existing building footprint, and maintains as distinctly mid-century identity. The architects have worked to create new connections to the adjacent Weeroona Bay in a ‘non “coastal cliché” way.’
The modernist heritage of the home is referenced in various details – the re-use of unique wall hooks, and a re-use of damaged glazed mosaic tiles in the five wet areas. The architects highlight the new timber batten lined staircase that ‘pays tribute to the mid-century era, and becomes a prominent feature’, along with the slate internal flooring.
The new layout enhances the connection between the ground floor and exterior environment, by adding an additional living/retreat area, complete with bar! Crazy pavers offer a link between the home and beautiful surrounds, whilst the bagged and rendered white walls, warm timbers and natural stone palette further this connection to place, reflecting the colours and textures of the surrounding landscape.
The interior fit-out also pays homage to all things mid-century, with a Lampe De Marseille wall lamp by Le Corbusier, Panton Chair and Entre 1B Oak bedside tables. By introducing vintage and modernist furniture alongside contemporary pieces, the architects ensured ‘that a home was created with a strong sense of nostalgia and soul.’
The Sydney-based artist doesn’t have a parrot, but she does have puppy Arkie! Photo – Alisha Gore.
Inspired by seascapes and living on the sea! Photo – Alisha Gore.
When she’s not painting, Gemma is renovating her yacht – which she purchased entirely from selling artworks! Photo – Alisha Gore.
Gemma’s home allows her to be as close as possible to her artistic inspirations! Photo – Alisha Gore.
Gemma studied a Bachelor of Design and worked as a textiles print designer before going full-time with her art. Photo – Alisha Gore.
‘I love nothing more than chucking on my headphones, pressing play on an audiobook and painting the day away,’ says Gemma. ‘I really enjoy solitude, which is lucky considering the artist profession is typically a lonely one.’ Photo – Alisha Gore.
When she’s not on the water, she and Arkie cycle to her little painting studio in Sydney’s Inner West. Photo – Alisha Gore.
In watery washes of colour, Gemma’s new body of work is a visual remedy for stress and anxiety. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Gemma Rasdall, a self-described bizarre combination of ‘workaholic, sailing sea gypsy and artist’, is living the (/my) dream!
Growing up in the beautiful bay of Pittwater, Gemma sailed on little racing boats every weekend, while most of her weeknights were spent creating with her siblings under the guidance of their art teacher mother. ‘Both passions continued throughout my adolescence, so when it came to deciding what to do for my Year 12 Art major work, I decided to combine both to develop a practice: painting seascapes on sailcloth,’ she recalls.
An incredibly dedicated individual, Gemma’s mantra is that when you try really hard, it usually it pays off, and also that it’s work ethic, not talent that makes for success. She was already living these age-old adages as a young, diligent student. Her secondary-school major artwork was accepted into Art Express, propelling her art practice, and leading to group exhibition opportunities.
Despite her parents’ encouragement to study art at university, Gemma was out to avoid becoming a ‘poor artist’, and enrolled in Bachelor of Design, before working several years as a textiles print designer. She found that path creatively limiting. ‘My heart wasn’t really in it,’ she reflects ‘I was spending every night after work and weekend continuing to produce my paintings on sailcloth, exhibiting regularly, and selling most of them!’
Eighteen-months ago that ‘itching creative anxiety’ forced Gemma to take the plunge into painting full-time. And so what became of her sink-or-sail moment? Gemma hasn’t looked back, and just last night she opened a new solo exhibition, The Calm, at Art Gallery on Darling. The series of mixed-media paintings (acrylics, soft pastel and charcoal) utilise recycled sailcloth, which the artist has collected and developed a special preparation process for over the years. ‘I love the texture of the Dacron, especially the wrinkled, weather-worn and patched sails… they stretch beautifully over a canvas frame too as they are extremely strong,’ she explains.
In watery washes of colour, the new artworks seek to serve as visual remedies for stress and anxiety. ‘My own experiences with anxiety over the years have unconsciously lead to me produce visually restful artwork. Walking into a studio filled with soft seascapes surrounding the walls is instantly calming… and as a highly-driven person, I really rely on strategies to reduce stress,’ Gemma shares. ‘The ocean and sailing have always been my escape, so by capturing that sense of freedom through art I am able to benefit from my work too.’
Gemma and puppy Arkie are currently living on her modest little yacht, which she purchased from Tin Can Bay, Queensland (entirely funded by selling artwork) and sailed down solo! When she’s not renovating it, or out on the bay sourcing inspiration, the artist paints from her slightly-steadier studio in the Inner West. Future bodies of work, however, will come to life from Scotland Island, a water-access-only island in the middle of Pittwater, to which Gemma is relocating her studio, to be even closer to the water.
Next, she is scouting artist residencies and will ‘chip away at the Australian art prize scene, to build exposure, connections with other artists, and find new opportunities’. Ever pragmatic, Gemma is also exploring a mix of freelance design, art teaching and boating jobs to stay afloat financially.
‘I think the best (and sometimes worst) part about being an artist is the rollercoaster of uncertainty that is life. There are no limitations to my work… I plan exhibitions and take on projects that interest me, spend long periods working really hard, but then can take weeks off sailing on my boat for an adventure too,’ she tells, hinting at dream voyages painting her way along the East Coast or even making a passage to New Caledonia (I’m planning to stowaway!). ‘Despite its instability, I thrive off the highs and lows of creative life, and could never be satisfied with a straight-line career path ever again.’
‘The Calm’ by Gemma Rasdall July 18th to 21st Art Gallery on Darling 307 Darling Street Balmain, New South Wales
Stan working on initial sketches to develop his Raes series. Photo – Madeline Johnson.
The work I have created during my stay was really experimental – a sort of preparation for what I would later paint back in my studio’, Stan says. Photo – Madeline Johnson.
Stan painted figures that he thought would be ‘fun’ to see at Raes (like a matador, for instance!). Photo – Madeline Johnson.
Stan drew on the natural palette of the Raes interiors and the spectacular Wategos beach surrounds, injecting bright colours for contrast. Photo – Madeline Johnson.
Stan’s residency will culminate in an exhibition of his works at Raes in August. Photo – Madeline Johnson.
If you’ve spent any time on Instagram in the past couple of years, chances are you’ve come across images of beachside boutique hotel and restaurant, Raes on Wategos. The legendary property underwent an out-of-this-world refurbishment by Tamsin Johnson in 2017, giving the already iconic establishment a fresh, new feel.
This year Rae’s has expanded their cultural offerings with the first annual Artist in Residence programme, in partnership with Champagne House Perrier-Jouët, designed to support like-minded artists and add meaningful works to the Raes Art Collection. ‘The program allows us to see the property through the eyes of this artist, in the form of their completed works,’ tells Raes’ General Manager Francesca Webster.
French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek is the recipient of the inaugural residency. Francesca first met Stan in 2018 after purchasing a piece of his work for the hotel’s reception area. ‘The response to the piece was so amazing, we knew we had to collaborate with him again’, tells Francesca. A personal follower of the hotel – he and his wife had previously stayed at Raes for their honeymoon – Stan was ‘chuffed’ by the opportunity to create works in response to the exquisite surrounds.
Stan and his family took up residence in the hotel in June, experiencing every exquisitely-designed room, and immersing themselves in the place, the people, and the unique ambience of Raes. ‘The work I created during my stay was really experimental’, Stan says of this exploratory time. Painting characters he thought were ‘fun to imagine at Raes’, like a matador for instance, Stan’s pastel-washed works take into consideration the soft, neutral colours of the interiors and furnishings, adding layers of depth and contrast.
Stan’s residency will culminate in a ticketed exhibition open to the public, where the finished works will be revealed for the very first time! Artworks will remain on show at Raes until sold, with one significant piece to be acquired by Raes’ Art Collection.
Tickets to opening exhibition event cost $70 per person and include canapes and a glass of Perrier-Jouë champagne on arrival. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your spot!
Stan Piechaczek exhibition opening Raes on Wategos 2019 Artist in Residence Friday, August 2nd 6pm til late Raes on Wategos 6-8 Marine Parade Byron Bay, New South Wales
Lucy Feagins and Penelope Seidler in conversation at our TDF Talks at Fisher & Paykel, Sydney, earlier this month. Photo – Alisha Gore.
From the TDF Talks at Fisher & Paykel event. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Penelope Seidler is many things. She’s an architect, and an accountant. She’s a member of the National Gallery of Australia Foundation Board, has been a director of Biennale of Sydney since 2010, and sits on the board of the Institute of Architects Foundation in Sydney. She was deputy commissioner for the Australian Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, and has been a member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1973! To top all that off, in 2008, she was acknowledged as a Member of the Order of Australia.
Despite these many accolades, many of us know Penelope best as the wife and professional partner of Harry Seidler, and director of architectural firm Seidler & Associates – which continues to operate to this day.
I was thrilled and a little starstruck to chat with Penelope earlier this month! We discussed her early life, her experience working with Harry in the 1960s and 1970s, her insights into Australian design and architecture today, and her proudest career achievement to date!
All our podcasts come with pictures. When listening via iTunes/the Apple podcasts app, enjoy viewing relevant photographs and clicking through links while you listen!
Penelope discussed her studio’s collaborations with artists including Alexander Calder – check out the Alexander Calder exhibition now showing at The NGV.
The Igloo House, Mosman is an exciting new restoration project in Sydney that Harry Seidler & Associates are currently working on.
Penelope reflects on Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House, and her and Harry’s friendship with the Danish architect. Last year, we made a beautiful little short film about how Australia’s most iconic building came to be, and its ongoing influence today.
She also mentions that Sydney’s iconic Sirius building has been sold – we asked what happens next?
This is the 31st episode of our TDF Podcast – thanks so much for listening! You can browse all or revisit any episode here.
Fisher & Paykel is New Zealand’s award-winning appliance brand, has become a global force not just in product design, but also in kitchen design. The company is committed to research, development and collaboration and works closely with architects and designers to seamlessly integrate their appliances into kitchens in innovative ways. Visit, www.fisherpaykel.com to find out more.
I basically grew up in a pub (don’t be alarmed, my Grandparents ran one for 25 years), yet I didn’t even know where that word came from, until I learned about photographer Geoffrey Goddard’s decade-long project.
The Sydney-based lensman has been photographing Art Deco ‘public houses’ over the past 10 years. This quest has taken him on over 35,000-kilometres of road trips, and the result is a fascinating, self-published book featuring more than 300 photographs. Complementing his original photographs with archival images from local historical institutions, he has explored examples from the bush to the city, and honed-in on decorative details and typography too.
A prize-winning photographer, art director and designer, Geoffrey has held numerous solo exhibitions and had his work exhibited from China to New Zealand, India to France and in the U.S. He took us through the pages of his new tome…
How did the idea for this book come to you, and why did you decide to specifically focus on Pubs and those in an Art Deco style?
I have been a passionate collector of all things Deco for many years, including buying and selling Deco furniture and collectables for a while, as a way to make money back in my uni days.
A trip to some of America’s great Art Deco cities of New York, Chicago and Miami back in 2007 became a launching pad for my passion for photographing architecture, in particular, Art Deco (this has now progressed to include other styles such as Mid-Century Modernism, Brutalism and Googie architecture).
When I got back from that trip I started to photograph the Art Deco architecture around Sydney where I live, and from there I started to research and compile a repository of buildings right around Australia that I slowly started to photograph one road trip at a time.
During one of the many road trips, I was thinking just how many Art Deco pubs I had photographed and what a unique Australian contribution to the architecture of the period they are. From there, the idea for the book was born.
A decade-long project is SUCH a commitment! What has been the highlight for you?
The most rewarding part of the project has been to finish it. It’s been quite a long journey, from initially taking the photos to researching and writing the book, then designing and producing the book to now distributing and selling it.
To sit back and be happy with the final outcome and to have publishers and other photographers I admire complimenting both the images and final production has been very rewarding, as well as all the lovely comments from people who have bought the book.
Also, knowing you have documented a slice of Australian history and contributed to the awareness and hopefully preservation of that history, has been very satisfying.
Did you encounter any *road bumps* along the way?
Apart from the long hours on the road it would definitely be the self-publishing aspect and learning about the business and production side of things.
After getting a few publishing offers, I decided to do it myself which involved a lot of time trying to get the production to a standard I was happy with and at a cost-effective price point.
Why do you think pubs hold such a special place in the Australian psyche, and do you think they will/can continue to be an important part of our cultural identity into the future?
It’s interesting to note that in the time I have been working on the book, a few of the pubs have closed or been converted for other uses, but generally, compared to many other buildings of the era, these Art Deco hotels have survived.
This is due to the fact that their function within the community, as a social hub and place to get a cheap room, a meal and a cold beer, is essentially the same today as it was when they were built. All be it, that these days the big band has been replaced with an indie band, the food is likely to be gourmet and served with a local craft beer.
#TheBaeTAS by Liz Walsh and Alex Nielsen (workbylizandalex). Photo – Sean Fennessy. Winner of the Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations & Additions).
#TheBaeTAS by Liz Walsh and Alex Nielsen (workbylizandalex). Photo – Sean Fennessy. Winner of the Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations & Additions).
#TheBaeTAS by Liz Walsh and Alex Nielsen (workbylizandalex). Photo – Sean Fennessy. Winner of the Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations & Additions).
The Australian Institute of Architects’ 2019 Tasmanian Architecture Awards has announced 17 winners and commendations from a pool of 37 entries. From luxury tourism accommodation and cruise ship shelters; to a community hub, health centre and camp delivered in partnership with the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania – the awards captured the multiple identities of the state’s built environment.
Awards jury chair Neal Mackinstosh, of JAWS Architects, describes the 2019 entrants and winners as ‘reflecting the quality Tasmanian architects bring to their craft – whatever the size and scope of the project.’ He explains, ‘as usual, a high level of inventiveness is evident, with Tasmanian architects stretching lean budgets to produce spatially rich and engaging buildings.’ Physical isolation breeds innovation!
In the residential section, keen TDF readers may recognise the #TheBaeTAS by young architects Liz Walsh and Alex Nielsen, which won the Edith Emery Award for alternations and additions. This tiny renovation recently featured in our round-up of ‘10 Unreal, Architectural Homes You Can Stay In!’
The complete list of winners is below, and the People’s Choice Award can be voted on here.
The home was originally designed by Australian designer, builder and landscape architect Alistair Knox, who is renowned for many wonderful homes in the Eltham area. Pop and Scott Dreamweaver Pot. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The reading nook with a delightful ‘hodge-podge’ of secondhand furniture. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Plenty of indoor greenery creates a wonderful link between interior and exterior. Ercol chairs. Tiled pizza shop table. Pop and Scott cylinder potsPhoto – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
This sprawling Eltham property is home to doula Sunni Hart, partner Pete Baxter (founder of Hope St Radio) and their two adorable kids Fox and Dizzy. However, moving into this bright, expansive home wasn’t completely straight forward. After Sunni initially spied the property for sale on Modernist Australia, she had to admit it was beyond her price-range and move on, a little heartbroken. Months later, and still daydreaming about the Alistair Knox designed home, the opportunity to rent popped up – and Sunni and family jumped! She cheerfully explains ‘it was truly meant to be, and made me believe in manifestation just that little bit more.’
Sunni reflects on the day they moved in, with baby Dizzy just eight weeks old. ‘I sat on the lounge room floor amongst all the boxes to feed him and sobbed with happiness that all I could see were trees around me.’ The Eltham retreat is vast (friends live in the hexagon house in the garden), but Sunni explains that it still possesses enormous ‘hygge and warmth, with so much beautiful natural light.’
The interiors blend the history of the house (including a pool table built in 1890 from fiddleback wood, and bluestone stone floor) with Sunni and Pete’s own ‘happy hodge-podge’ of treasured possessions. Sunni describes a mutual love of natural materials and bright colours, that create an understated eclectic vibe here. The home is scattered with artworks from friends (including a painting by Gabriel Curtin and collection of Nell Pearson works), ‘lucky finds’ items of furniture, and a ‘gazillion’ plants.
Sunni and Pete’s life in Eltham is spent sharing the balcony with bold king parrots, and meandering through the bushy surrounds. We can understand why Sunni fell in love with this place!
Ken Done in his home studio. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.
‘Painters and musicians have long been friends and collaborators with varying degrees of success, but in my experience, there is tremendous mutual respect and almost an awe of each other’s craft,’ tells artist Luke Scibberas. Austinmer-based band Shining Bird enlisted the Hill End-based artist in creating the cover of their 2016 release, Black Opal. Luke first became acquainted with the members of this experimental pop band by reputation (‘their excellent work’) and then by social media.
In another collaboration, Collingwood-based artist Stephen Baker created artwork for The Smith Street Band‘s fourth album, More Scared of You than You Are of Me, which was a first for the band and ‘extra special’ for Stephen. ‘Having known the members for some time, I definitely had an intimate connection to the artwork and their personalities,’ Stephen explains. A portrait of the singer, Wil Wagner, was decided on unanimously for the album cover. Additional new art, all in Stephen’s artistic style and a specific colour palette, was used across a range of merchandise for the release, from covers to posters, T-shirts and even 50 hand-painted guitar pedals!
From the other perspective, Alexander Gow, frontman of Melbourne-based indie rockers Oh Mercy approached Ken Done by email seeking something ‘vibrant and bold’ for their sophomore album back in 2011. ‘I was also very aware of his place within the Australian psyche. Knowing the title was going to be Great Barrier Grief, I knew it’d be a perfect match,’ Alexander explains. He visited Ken’s gallery at The Rocks. ‘I met his family, and we just had a chat about art and music. It was enough to make him say, “Yeah, I’ll do it.”’
When creative forms like music and fine art coming together, there is an opportunity for mutual growth and the reaching of new audiences. While mass distribution may at first seem at odds with an exhibiting painter’s priorities, both Luke and Stephen found their collaborations to be incredibly enriching.
‘I think it’s a great thing if you trust the musical artist you’re working with, and the result is in keeping with your ideals and aesthetics. Being inspired by someone else’s work is also exciting, having the trust of a musician’s opus to render or capture visually is an amazing experience!’ praises Stephen.
‘One can’t fathom just how the others wrest their respective works. I’ve worked with and maintained friendships with pop musicians, classical and contemporary composers and music is a constant in my studio, adding a lyrical inflexion to my visual story,’ adds Luke. ‘May it ever be so.’
We take you through some stand-out collaborations below. *With more than 11,377,191 albums released at the time of writing, we’ve no doubt missed some of your favourites – please pop them in the comments!
Paul Kelly reviewed this 2011 album as like ‘sailing on a beautiful boat on a calm blue sea under a cloudless sky. Only there’s a shadow moving under the water. Something dark and hidden ready to strip the flesh from your bones before they wash to the shore’. So, we can see how it was this ocean-pun-inspired release that got the attention of the renowned, water-loving artist.
The Perth-born, LA-based artist is fascinated with ‘the intersection and blend between the artificial and the natural’. With early roots in web design, Jonathan has expanded to into commercial graphic design, illustration and art direction and more recently object and furniture design, sculpture, video, installation and painting. He has taken out two Australian Record Industry Awards (ARIAS) for album artwork (Flume’s 2016 release (pictured above) and Apocalypso by long-time collaborators The Presets in 2008) as well as presented solo exhibitions and installations in contemporary galleries around the world.
‘I worked across the full breadth of Flume’s Grammy-winning Skin album life cycle,’ explains Jonathan of his album and single artwork, merchandise, promotional videos, creative direction of the live show, and even an exhibition of audio/video works and printed silks presented in LA and Sydney. ‘The work aimed to explore ways of making the digital become organic and find tension points between comfort and discomfort,’ he adds.
DANE LOVETT + DAVE SNOW – ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’ by Eskimo Joe
Melbourne-based artist Dane Lovett (who opens a new exhibition next week) teamed up with Dave Snow on the 2006 release by the Fremantle-formed alternative rock band. The artwork, stylised portraits of the three-piece, was nominated for the ARIA Award for Best Cover Art (and took out the Single of the Year for its titular track).
You may recognise the style of this cover from your childhood, more specifically the book Animalia, illustrated by legendary author and artist Graeme Base. The Melbourne-based creative worked with the alternative rock band on their sixth studio album, which features his signature, magical animal art.
‘At college, I had always wanted to be the guy who did the record covers,’ reflected Graeme when he spoke to The Garret Podcast. Though he missed out on a job at a major record label, we’re glad he got a chance in 2013 to collaborate with what couldn’t have been a more fitting group!
The creative director and multi-disciplinary artist has created everything from music festival branding to identities for tech companies and restaurants. then there is, of course, the record cover art, including the 2016 chart-topping album from alternative dance RÜFÜS DU SOL, which was nominated for an ARIA for Best Album Artwork.
Jack is also a recording artist himself and boasts further artistic collaborations with the likes of Childish Gambino, The Australian Ballet, Vance Joy, Chet Faker to name a few.
The British rock band released live album Alchemy in 1983, featuring an adapted section from an original painting, also entitled Alchemy, by artist Brett Whiteley.
The epic oil-and-mixed-media painting was created between 1972 and 1973 and spans across 18 wood panels (203cm x 1615cm). Regarded to be a self-portrait, it is currently in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW and you can read an insightful essay about it here.
The cover of the Dire Straits album includes the far-right section of the artwork, with the addition of a guitar with lips held by a hand.
The Austinmer-based experimental pop band selected Luke Sciberras’ artwork, Buffalo Country for their 2016 release.
This painting came about after ‘a wild night spent on the edge of the Katherine River in the Northern Territory, full of rumblings and myths of buffaloes and crocodiles but also stars and poetic gloaming,’ Luke tells. He believes it was a perfect match; ‘It’s dark and earthy but has a warmth that I think suits the album nicely’.
Melbourne-based creatives produced photography, art direction and design for Chet Faker’s debut LP.
‘Through a series of still lifes, the artwork talks about the impermanence of objects, memories and relationships. We’ve used objects that are millions of years old and others that are man-made and very new to create an expanded sense of time and history. The series also explores a number of themes from the album, one of which is strength and fragility and how these two things can co-exist,’ they explain of the collaboration, which saw them awarded the 2014 ARIA Award for Best Cover Art.
The Melbourne four-piece will release their third album next month, and have enlisted Melbourne-based artist to create art for its cover. Julian is known for his richly conceptual exhibitions of mixed-media abstract and figurative works.
An analogue collage artist who uses paper, scissors and glue to reinvent vintage imagery into surreal retro-futuristic landscapes, Karen worked with Bernard Fanning on his 2016 solo release.
The album’s name is drawn from a photography term, civil twilight, ‘[talking] about the light in the sky when the sun has gone below the horizon, but you can still make out all the objects’ and is a direct reference to the core theme of decisions and their lasting consequences.
Bernard’s wife came across Karen’s work on Instagram and he found her style to fit ‘perfectly with the lyrical themes’.
The Newcastle-based painter’s work spans painting, sculpture, assemblage and collage. He teamed up with Melbourne-based duo for their sophomore record album, and they made a film about their artistic collaborations.
‘James’ paintings are richly patterned like an intriguing carpet – the shapes varied and inventive, the colour subtle with strong contrasts of light and dark and warm sonorous passages. As James says, they are about memory and intimacy and one’s eye can wander through the paintings imagining a multiplicity of images in this richly layered world,’ describes his contemporary, artist Elisabeth Cummings.
The stacked home accommodates the clients, their adult children, and a young daughter. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.
Going upwards was the only solution on this narrow, awkward site. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.
In keeping with zoning requirements, the ground level of the site is used for commercial purposes. Photo – Shannon Mcgrath.
‘Multi-generational living is becoming more prevalent in Australia, driven partly by the housing affordability crisis, but also because it offers convenience, better amenity and keeps costs low through shared resource and family support’, Matt Gibson of Matt Gibson Architecture and Design explains.
Opposite a freeway at one end, and residential housing at the other, this tricky site was to be a home for a couple (a property industry professional and an interior designer, who run DDB Design) to live in alongside their adult children, their partners, and a young daughter. Located in St Kilda on a strip zoned for business, the design solution needed to accommodate the large family, as well as plenty of space for extended family and friends, whilst also meeting the zoning requirements.
The clients saw this an opportunity to ‘embrace inner city living and challenge the traditional “quarter acre block” housing typology in Australia’ architect Matt Gibson explains. He and his clients went upward on the awkward, challenging site, leaving the ground floor open to commercial use, as per regulations, and creating linked, stacked residences for the family. The southern façade facing the residential area divides into ten zinc-clad boxes set back at varying intervals.
Three clear zones make up the residential spaces – communal (living level), personal (bedroom levels), and retreat (access to views and private open space). ‘Each bedroom features its own bathroom and breakout space and in many ways feel like individual self-contained studios’, Matt tells. ‘Ensuite services are stacked, taking a multi-residential approach with a view to possible future use.’ A large, vertical central atrium allows for ample natural light to radiate through the various rooms and residences, creating unique moments of beauty unexpected in apartment-style living.
With the reality of massive population increase upon us, and house prices unattainable for many, it’s so important we are reconsidering what is both achievable and desirable for long-term housing solutions. This Mixed Use House is similar in size to the neighbouring terrace houses, while only using a fraction of the land mass to house multiple people. It’s inspiring to see architects like Matt Gibson and industry professionals DDB Design collaborating to come up with alternatives for medium-density accommodation that doesn’t compromise on quality of life, and takes a holistic approach to more sustainable long-term future living!