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A Mindful, Minimal Take On Modernist Design

Architecture

Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Beaumaris is renowned for its original mid-century architecture, but this heritage is sadly rarely reflected in the area’s newly-built properties. Fortunately, one house that does pay homage to the architectural history of the area is the Ruxton Rise Residence – a recently completed project by Studiofour.

Located on the former site of a local RSL, this new house pays homage to modernist design in its built form, material expression, and connection to the landscape. The designers describe the project as a physical interpretation of the owner’s values – family, health and integrity – with pared-back interiors that enhance experiences, rather than making a strong visual statement.

18th June, 2020

Ruxton Rise Residence is a contemporary take on a mid-century home. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Turning its focus inward, the internal courtyard is the heart and focus of the building. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The street elevation is nestled into the fall of the site, giving nothing away of what is within. Photo – Shannon McGrath

All materials and building techniques were selected for their honesty, as well as their ability to patina over time. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Concrete floors, concrete bricks, custom timber furniture pieces, and tadelakt wet areas create a sense of openness, simplicity and honesty.  Photo – Shannon McGrath

Priority was placed on the creation of outdoor areas and integrating the landscape into the design. Photo – Shannon McGrath

‘Minimalism was not directly pursued as an aesthetic, but rather as an outcome to our stance on sustainability,’ says Studiofour co-director Annabelle Berryman. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The clients saw this home not only as a physical stricture, but as a metaphorical structure of their values: family, health and integrity. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The interior courtyard garden is treated like an extra room inside the home – a space to read, listen to music, or sit in the sun. Photo – Shannon McGrath

At its core, this is a home that enriches everyday experiences. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The house pays homage to modernist design in its built form, material expression, and connection to the landscape. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Studiofour’s design explores what is required for a young family to live minimally and mindfully. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The design was led by the fundamental principle that simplicity enables idleness, and time spent idle makes for a healthier state of mind. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The architects saw the opportunity to test different materials such as tadelakt in the wet areas. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Views of surrounding trees from the bedroom. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Sarah Henry says ‘If I could summarise the objective for our new house in one sentence it would be, to create a little bit of something precious, rather than a lot of something mediocre.’ Photo – Shannon McGrath

Amelia Barnes
Thursday 18th June 2020

‘Minimalism was not directly pursued as an aesthetic, but rather as an outcome to our stance on sustainability.’ – Annabelle Berryman

There are several clear influences that underpin the Ruxton Rise Residence – a recently built home by Studiofour.

Located in Beaumaris, a bayside Melbourne suburb once dominated by mid-century homes, Studiofour saw the opportunity to draw on the area’s architectural heritage in the design. ‘Creating a new home within this area should be deemed a privilege, and should pay respect to this architectural history,’ says Sarah Henry, co-director at Studiofour. ‘Taking cues from the local mid-century homes, our solution sought to demonstrate that by maintaining a small footprint, we could deliver a high-quality building that relied on authentic, honest materials and construction techniques.’

The clients saw this home not only as a physical structure, but as an expression of their values: family, health and integrity. Taking these principles into account, Studiofour’s design explores what is required for a young family to live minimally and mindfully. One of the key aims was to help simplify domestic tasks required in family life, enabling the owners more time for what brings them joy and meaning. ‘All importance was placed on this quality of experience, rather than any visual statement,’ says Sarah. 

The resulting minimalist interiors are a further reflection of these desires, as well as Studiofour’s commitment to sustainability. ‘Minimalism was not directly pursued as an aesthetic, but rather as an outcome to our stance on sustainability,’ explains Studiofour co-director Annabelle Berryman. ‘Our strategy is to always ensure only the essential spaces are provided.’

As with many of Beaumaris’ mid-century homes, priority was placed on the creation of outdoor areas, and integrating the landscape into the design. Instead of looking to a large backyard, this home’s primary focus is inward towards a central courtyard. ‘The interior courtyard garden is treated like an extra room inside the home – a space to read, listen to music, or sit in the sun,’ says Sarah. By positioning the major outdoor space internally, the clients are awarded with a strong landscape presence as desired, as well as a high degree of privacy.

At its core, this is a home that enriches everyday experiences. The design was led by the fundamental principle that simplicity enables idleness, and time spent idle makes for a healthier state of mind.  ‘When we are idle, we want less and are more at peace when we get it,’ says Sarah. ‘The planning of the home was designed to lead to longer conversations, more intimate memories, and closer relationships.’ 

See more Studiofour projects here.

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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