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A Home Designed For Connection

Architecture

The game of Connect Four was invented in 1974 – I’m sure you remember it!  The game involves carving out connections on a slot-board, noughts and crosses style, with coloured plastic discs. Today’s home takes a (surprisingly) similar approach, creating new insertions into an Edwardian Villa, to connect the home’s six inhabitants.

We chat with Steven Whiting from Whiting Architects about introducing the new to the old, and somehow turning a block subdivision, into a more generous and connected family home!

11th December, 2018

The Connect Six House by Whiting Architects in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton. Victoria. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Beck Simon.

Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 11th December 2018

‘The brief was framed around consolidation and connection… the house was large enough, it just needed to be better utilised.’ – Steven Whiting, Whiting Architects.

This Brighton property was initially purchased as a large Edwardian home, on a generous sized block. With the option to subdivide, the owners carved the site in two, still retaining an area ‘much larger than many of the properties we deal with’ architect Steven Whiting says.

Rather than sprawl to the edges of the available space, Steven explains that the brief was framed around ‘consolidation and connection.’ He highlights, ‘the house was large enough, it just needed to be better utilised, updated and customised to the needs of this very close family of six.’ The architects reconfigured the existing structure, to miminise the impact of the new on the old.

This approach saw the insertion of metal boxes, set inside the pre-existing pitched terracotta tiled roof and red brick exterior. To cater to the family’s needs, the architects focused on the functionality of each space, and optimising how specific areas of the home performed. Steven explains that the design intends to balance ‘separation and connectedness’ alongside ‘privacy and engagement.’

As the heart of the home, the kitchen offers a space for the entire family to congregate. The low ceiling conjures a sense of intimacy, before opening out to the soaring height of the living area. Steven describes the interior spaces as inspiring a ‘process of discovery – glimpsing interesting elements and obtaining views through to unexpected spaces, as well as encouraging curiosity and a desire to explore.’

This ambitious home design posed a few challenges to its occupants along the way, and Steven acknowledges the great leap of faith his clients took throughout the process!  The result is a bold, yet comforting and liveable space – a truly unique home that puts family connection at the very centre of its design.

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First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net