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An Understated, Architectural Home That 'Isn’t Up Itself'

Architecture

There is a relaxed precision to the Pleated House in Highett by Megowan Architectural.

This especially comes through in the communications with architect Christopher Megowan, who provides us with a sophisticated description of the design intent… but also cheerfully notes that the best aspect of the house is that it ‘isn’t up itself.’

Take a tour through this client-built home of understated excellence. No fuss, no nonsense, plenty of architectural delight.

9th April, 2019

The Pleated House by Megowan Architectural. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Claire Taffe.

Fresh and unpretentious! Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Claire Taffe.

The home opens out to indoor/outdoor living. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Claire Taffe.

Simple and refined kitchen. Photo – Tom Blachford.

This relaxed pooch has got the right idea!  Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Claire Taffe.

Clerestory windows welcome light in. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Claire Taffe.

Bathroom details. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Claire Taffe.

Miriam McGarry
Tuesday 9th April 2019

‘A simple flat-roofed box out the back just wasn’t going to be an option’ – Christopher Megowan.

The Pleated House renovation by Megowan Architectural in Highett, Victoria, was constructed by homeowner Kieron Christ, and architect Christopher Megowan explains that the builder’s skill set directly informed the design of the home.

Christopher highlights ‘the home was going to be built by a well-traveled roof plumber, and stylist Claire Taffe, so a simple flat-roofed box out the back just wasn’t going to be an option.’ From here, the pleated form was developed!

The original single-storey weatherboard house was redesigned with the addition of a folded roof, and charred cypress cladding. Christopher highlights that in textile construction, a ‘pleat’ requires precise folding and heating, and the design of this home take inspiration from this painstaking process. Charred and oiled cypress wraps around the home, contrasting with the existing weatherboard. The garage and veranda extension at the front of the home have also been updated with the new charred timber addition, as a way to create a distinct but connected relationship between the old and new aspects of the home.

The renovations also bring increased natural light into the home through the introduction of six clerestory windows (new word alert!). Meanwhile, the roof form riffs on midcentury modernist influences (Donald Wexler, Barry Berkus, and Pierre Koening) – while also taking inspiration from structures a little closer to home. Christopher explains that the folding roof silhouette pays homage to the iconic bathing boxes which dot Port Phillip Bay.

The charm of this design is in the understated execution, and strong design aesthetic. Christopher highlights ‘perhaps my favourite aspect on this project is that while the project is no doubt designed, considered and resolved, it isn’t too serious, “up itself” or pretentious.’ A down-to-earth design that perfectly reflects the relaxed personality of the clients, while remaining underpinned by a committed design intent.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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