This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A 'Modernist Ruin' In Malvern

Architecture

The German word ruinenlust (loosely translated to ‘Ruin Lust’) describes the human condition of being attracted to the crumbling collapse of what was once grand. The glory of yesteryear, intertwined with nostalgia, and sense of decay.

This intersection of the past and the present is explored in Figureground Architecture’s Malvern House. Here, the architects have created what they describe as a ‘modernist ruin’, that will age beautifully, and become slowly enwrapped in ivy and shrouded in verdant green. We chat with director Matt Rawlins about stepping outside of time, with a renovation that simultaneously harks back and gazes forwards.

 

17th December, 2018

The Malvern House by Figureground Architecture. Outdoor chairs and table by Tait. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Artwork by Arthur Ted Powell. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Dining chairs from Meizai. Sculpture by Den Holm. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Artwork by Judith Wright from Sophie Gannon Gallery. Side table by Douglas and Bec. Floor rug from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Artwork by Judith Wright from Sophie Gannon Gallery. Floor lamp and side table by Douglas and Bec. Floor rug from Halcyon Lake. Table lamp and table from District. Cushions from Meizai. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Beck Simon.

Miriam McGarry
Monday 17th December 2018

When Matt Rawlins of Figureground Architecture first visited the Malvern House, he was met with a grand heritage frontage…and an 80s-inspired shambles at the rear of the property. After considering the potentials of the site, he offered a proposal that sat outside of the scope of the initial brief. His approach was to consider the north facing garden and external spaces as an extension of the home.

Matt’s bold new concept for the property involved reconfiguring the exterior space into three seperate gardens: ‘a passive central green courtyard, a raised deck for socialising, and a smaller courtyard to the south.’ Inside, new living and dining rooms are separated by a ‘kitchen pod’, with each space connecting directly to the garden. Matt explains ‘the dining room is framed by the green wall of the southern courtyard, whilst the deep revealed living room windows control light levels and create a moodier setting.’

The mood of this property is of stepping outside of ‘now’ into a past-that-never-occurred and a future that is yet unfolding. Matt describes how the garden and renovations are intended to read as a ‘modernist ruin.’ The masonry structure, with cement render, and lush vines enveloping the built elements offer a new riff on Ricardo Bofill’s 1973 Cement Factory project. This iconic surrealist industrial renovation was a reference point for Matt as an example of ‘architecture as a ruin in a landscape.’ Closer to home, Matt highlighted the work of Vokes and Peters, and Owen Architecture as masters of viewing home and garden as one cohesive ‘design task.’

This Week

Tiny Homes

This Home Transforms Neglected Housing Stock Into Micro Luxury!

The 'tiny home' phenomenon continues... explore the Type Street Apartment from Tsai Design.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

An Award-Winning Home, In Three Parts

The triple pavilion house design from Trias Studio in Newcastle, NSW.
Miriam McGarry
  24 hours ago

News

Huge Names Added To The 'All About Women' Festival

Including Michelle Obama’s former Chief of Staff!
Sally Tabart

News

Mercedes me Achieves carboNZero Certification

The Mercedes me Melbourne cafe and event space has been recognised for their ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Modernist Australia

A Home Where Summer Holidays Never End, And It's For Sale

A miracle confluence of premier Victorian beach town, and preeminent Victorian architect Guilford Bell, designed in 1973.
Patricia Callan

Architecture

A Welcoming Renovation

Tim Spicer Architects seamlessly connects old and new, in this clever extension in Shoreham, Victoria.
Miriam McGarry
  8 hours ago

Work Space

An Invigorating New Base For A Homegrown Success Story

Carman’s invite us to check our their fresh HQ by Ewert Leaf architects in Huntingdale, Victoria.
Elle Murrell

Art

This Exhibition Is A Tribute To New York Museum Wanderings

Sydney-born, New York-based artist Adriana Picker returns to her home city to unveil 'Vases from the MET' in Paddington this week.
Miriam McGarry

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions of 2019

Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2019, Australia wide – clear the calendar!
Miriam McGarry

Food

Lucy's Green Bean Salad With Preserved Lemon, Hazelnuts And Crème Fraîche

An easy weeknight staple, dressed up with zingy preserved lemon, creme fraiche and roasted hazelnuts for that all important crunch!
Lucy Feagins

The Tools I Use

The Tools I Use · Phillip Withers

We go behind-the-scenes and inside the toolkit with legendary local landscape designer, Phillip Withers!

Homes

A Magical Inner City Treehouse

An empty nester's brilliantly unconventional Clifton Hill home, designed by architect Murray Barker.

News

What To Do On Your Next Summer Roadtrip

Bush Heritage Australia remind us what to consider (and what’s at stake if we don’t) as we venture outdoors.
Elle Murrell

News

Your Chance To Eat With Julia Ostro!

Enjoy Julia Busuttil-Nishimura’s personal favourite recipes from her prolific cookbook!

News

The Bag Making Workshop Combining Aesthetics With Ethics

Level up and learn how to craft your own leather pouch!
Sally Tabart
  22 hours ago

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Weatherboard Home Soars To New Heights

The Kite house by Architecture Architecture elevates an unconventional site, in Albert Park.

Architecture

A Different Kind Of 'Tree House'

A home inspired by a magestic backyard magnolia tree, by Green Sheep Collective.

Architecture

From 80s 'Toilet Block' To Picturesque Holiday Home

Figureground Architecture transforms this run-down coastal house into an idyllic family retreat.

This Week

News

The Bag Making Workshop Combining Aesthetics With Ethics

Level up and learn how to craft your own leather pouch!
Sally Tabart
  22 hours ago

Homes

A Magical Inner City Treehouse

An empty nester's brilliantly unconventional Clifton Hill home, designed by architect Murray Barker.

Architecture

An Award-Winning Home, In Three Parts

The triple pavilion house design from Trias Studio in Newcastle, NSW.
Miriam McGarry
  24 hours ago

News

What To Do On Your Next Summer Roadtrip

Bush Heritage Australia remind us what to consider (and what’s at stake if we don’t) as we venture outdoors.
Elle Murrell

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions of 2019

Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2019, Australia wide – clear the calendar!
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Welcoming Renovation

Tim Spicer Architects seamlessly connects old and new, in this clever extension in Shoreham, Victoria.
Miriam McGarry
  8 hours ago

News

Mercedes me Achieves carboNZero Certification

The Mercedes me Melbourne cafe and event space has been recognised for their ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Work Space

An Invigorating New Base For A Homegrown Success Story

Carman’s invite us to check our their fresh HQ by Ewert Leaf architects in Huntingdale, Victoria.
Elle Murrell

Modernist Australia

A Home Where Summer Holidays Never End, And It's For Sale

A miracle confluence of premier Victorian beach town, and preeminent Victorian architect Guilford Bell, designed in 1973.
Patricia Callan

News

Your Chance To Eat With Julia Ostro!

Enjoy Julia Busuttil-Nishimura’s personal favourite recipes from her prolific cookbook!

Tiny Homes

This Home Transforms Neglected Housing Stock Into Micro Luxury!

The 'tiny home' phenomenon continues... explore the Type Street Apartment from Tsai Design.
Miriam McGarry

Food

Lucy's Green Bean Salad With Preserved Lemon, Hazelnuts And Crème Fraîche

An easy weeknight staple, dressed up with zingy preserved lemon, creme fraiche and roasted hazelnuts for that all important crunch!
Lucy Feagins

The Tools I Use

The Tools I Use · Phillip Withers

We go behind-the-scenes and inside the toolkit with legendary local landscape designer, Phillip Withers!

Art

This Exhibition Is A Tribute To New York Museum Wanderings

Sydney-born, New York-based artist Adriana Picker returns to her home city to unveil 'Vases from the MET' in Paddington this week.
Miriam McGarry

News

Huge Names Added To The 'All About Women' Festival

Including Michelle Obama’s former Chief of Staff!
Sally Tabart

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Weatherboard Home Soars To New Heights

The award-winning Kite house by Architecture Architecture elevates an unconventional site.

Architecture

A Different Kind Of 'Tree House'

A home inspired by a magestic backyard magnolia tree, by Green Sheep Collective.

Architecture

From 80s 'Toilet Block' To Picturesque Holiday Home

Figureground Architecture transforms this run-down coastal house into an idyllic family retreat.