The Blurred House project, Melbourne
Melbourne-based interior designers and architects Bild Architecture have completed the Blurred House project. Completed in 2011, the luxury home can be found in Melbourne, Australia.
The first in a series of studies into the adaptation of vernacular Australian suburban typologies, ‘Blurred House’ is a major renovation and extension to an original 1930s Californian bungalow in Melbourne’s inner-north. Reacting to the established convention of residential extension which prescribes a jarring juxtaposition of existing ‘old’ and introduced ‘new’ architectural elements; the contemporary Melbourne property offers an alternative proposition; that of a blurring between ‘old’ and ‘new’ to produce a hybrid. Gradually transitioning from the vernacular to the contemporary, the division of the original and the addition is deliberately ambiguous, producing a unique formal and visual language.
According to the architects: “Viewed from the street, the contemporary house appears largely unchanged, with a small clerestory window the only hint of reconfiguration. Both internally and externally; moving through the house, new materials, spatial characters and formal language is progressively introduced. By the time of arrival in the back yard, the house has evolved into a different building; no longer recognisable from its original starting point; an architectural ‘rabbit in a hat’.
“The existing building, as was common when it was constructed, had very limited connections the outside and was quite dark inside. The original house was partially demolished, in fact the rear half of the house was leveled to the sub-floor and then completely rebuilt. This allowed the freedom to produce a series of very contemporary spaces at the rear of the house that provides very strong visual and spatial connection to the garden and pool at the rear of the property.
“Reflecting the formal strategy of transition, rooms at the front of the property are left largely unadulterated, remaining more enclosed. On the other hand, living spaces to the rear are progressively more open and interconnected embracing the garden and pool areas. These varied spaces respond to different ‘modes’ of living, with different volumetric, acoustic, and light qualities. Whilst these spaces are linked to a greater or lesser degree, they are not ‘open plan’ in a conventional sense, rather configured in a more nuanced distribution of distinct spaces and functions.
The interior spaces of the house are highly varied, allowing for the family to use the building in a variety of ways during the year and as the children get older. The design provides a series of different living spaces; formal/informal, open with strong connections to the outside vs. enclosed and cozy, allowing us to use the house in different ways though-out the year and over time. The design also provided for a self-contained a teenagers’ retreat, so that as the children grow they can gain privacy and independence while staying in the family home.
“Many of the house’s original materials were retained and re-used through the building; including the Baltic-pine flooring (originally imported into Australia in the 1920’s) used throughout the ground level, was restored and re-laid in some areas. The walls and ceilings were consciously left white, as a neutral backdrop to the clients expanding art collection. The bathrooms used contemporary materials and fittings, however referenced the period detailing of the original house, with contrasting boarder inlays in the floor and use of hexagon mosaics.
“A hybrid of both old and new, oscillating between the past and present, the Blurred House sits comfortably in the street scape as something familiar yet alien. Distinct from both the area’s new housing and the original suburban fabric the ‘Blurred House’ is neither little red riding hood or the big bad wolf, somewhere in between.”
Images courtesy of TM Photo.