Music Box, as it’s known, is a new home inspired by a client’s connection to music and performance, and informed by its triangular and leafy site established Elwood, Melbourne.
The Multiplicity project started with some specific requirements — a basement, lift, car stacker, music room, and a separate studio with its own street entrance — to be designed on a challenging triangular 345 square metre site with height restrictions.
In replacing an interwar home, both the owners and architects were conscious of designing a new house that would be respectful of the surrounding neighbourhood. The clients’ specifically briefed the architects not to design ‘brutal, chest beating architecture.’ Project architect Cimone McIntosh explains, ‘For both of them, it was important that the house not only made the most of its beautiful surrounds, but that it made a positive contribution to the streetscape —presenting beautifully and comfortably in the daytime as well as at night.’
Underpinning the project are mature gum trees lining the longest stretch of the block. By breaking down the form of the home across the site, the architects were able to frame views of these treetops, in addition to referencing their texture in the material palette.
Timber cladding on the facade is intended to slowly grey and fade over time, receding back into the gentle colours of the surrounding gumtrees. Inside, soft silver travertine provides balance to deep red travertine in the bathrooms, whilst the communal spaces are characterised by warm timber and textural details.
Various ceiling heights set the tone and function of the interior spaces, while catering to the owners’ differing tastes. One likes minimal spaces with high volumes, and the other is a maximalist who prefers intimate volumes.
Multiplicity created coffered ceilings to mediate the expectations of both clients, providing the height of tall ceilings with the cosiness of a more intimate setting.
Dramatic lighting throughout is reminiscent of a stage or theatre, adjustable to suit the feeling or mood.
Cimone notes the ‘gentle presence’ of the completed three-storey home. ‘Whether it’s sitting and watching the rain dance on the maple leaves, or watching the dancing pattern of sun streaming through the windows, it makes you feel at ease.
‘It really is the owners’ private little sanctuary.’