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A Concrete Blanketed Sanctuary In Melbourne's East

Architecture

It might just be us, but the Hawthorn House by Melbourne architecture firm Edition Office has already become an iconic example of Australian residential architecture.

Featuring in countless architecture awards since its completion, today we are thrilled to give you an in-depth look at this recently completed masterpiece, a boundary-pushing sanctuary built for a family in Melbourne’s east.

2nd July, 2019

Edition Office‘s Hawthorn House. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

The award-winning home features two iconic concrete shrouds. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

The striking facade at once provide sanctuary and connects with the lush garden, Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

The arched concrete shrouds evolved as a method of structurally supporting the house with its own skin. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

The interior material palette and detailing is restrained. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

Considerate detailing provides a sense of interior warmth and lightness. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

The architects see the dwelling as a poetic vessel which can modify both experience of place and amplify and nurture the particular experiences of one’s daily life. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

The family home is deeply enclosed while at the same time intensely open. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

The architects handled, with care, the nature of the materials used and the volumes and form to make strong concrete functional in a family home. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

Concrete continues to be heroed indoors. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

Floor to ceiling windows for the study. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

The best of indoor/outdoor living. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

Bathroom on the second level. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

Second-level bedroom. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Marina Breit.

Elle Murrell
Tuesday 2nd July 2019

‘We see the project, beyond its core function of dwelling, as a poetic vessel which can modify both experience of place’ – Aaron Roberts and Kim Bridgland.

After a long working day, there’s nothing more comforting than retreating to a sanctuary, a refuge that at once feels private, yet connected to the natural world. Edition Office’s award-winning Hawthorn House in Melbourne’s East achieves such aims in spectacular fashion – combining a striking pair of large, heavily textured concrete shrouds with a lush outdoor terrace and garden.

‘The brief was to design a home that would age gracefully; a private yet open house with multiple living areas, to allow children and adults within the family to grow and have their changing needs accommodated over time,’ explain Aaron Roberts and Kim Bridgland, Directors of Edition Office.

Upon first reading the site, the duo had to come to terms with the opportunities (specifically three wonderful old trees) and constraints (the need to balance privacy and refuge, whilst providing excellent connectedness to the outdoors).

Drawing inspiration from monolithic masonry buildings, the work of Pezo Von Ellrichshausen and Juliaan Lampens’ Brutalist Vandenhaute Kiebooms House, the architects responded with ‘a deceptively simple and singular solution’. Their commanding, window-less concrete arches, so dense they seem to blanket the dwelling, act as shells for the first-floor sleeping and bathing spaces. At the same time, these primary structural elements provide clear connectivity between the entire landscape of the site and the living areas at ground level.

Inside, the architects practiced restraint in terms of material palette and detailing, believing this ‘strengthens rather than smothers the experiential quality of the project’. Considerate detailing provides a sense of interior warmth and lightness, for example, balustrades and door handles are composed of elemental intersections of brass, timber, and concrete, which will patina with use over time.

‘We see the project, beyond its core function of dwelling, as a poetic vessel which can modify both experience of place and amplify and nurture the particular experiences of one’s daily life,’ reflect Aaron Roberts and Kim Bridgland. ‘It is at once civic and domestic, deeply enclosed while being intensely open, highly exposed while being effortlessly private, it is heavy yet also surprisingly light.’

A space of complementary contrasts, this home is one we’ve no doubt will stand the test of time.

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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 – we would love to hear from you.

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