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Western Residence renovated into a contemporary home


Melbourne-based architectural practice, FMD Architects, has designed the Western Residence project. The contemporary home is located in Melbourne, Australia.

The aim of the renovation project was to create connections between the major living spaces by overlaying a new layer of elements to the existing fabric of the house.


The biggest challenge the architect faced was designing a home for a growing family. “The client appreciated the simplicity of the existing building, however wanted a stronger connection and flexibility between the main living and dining spaces. The house needed to allow for the family unit to grow and be adaptable to their future needs,” said the architect.


To respond to this, the only alteration to the existing structure was to extend the openings between the kitchen and dining area, the entry lobby and the living room. Large sliding panels of different shapes and sizes were overlaid over the openings -this allowed a number of different configurations of the spaces. The island bench in the kitchen was also mobile to allow a number of different dining
possibilities between the existing dining area and the living room.


The existing structure was robust, square and simple. Complexity was added by the new layers, all of which intentionally misaligned with the existing structure, like a series of lost puzzle pieces, that don’t quite fit. Shelves run over windows, large sliding doors collide but don’t quite close together, and cabinetry hangs over doorways and stairs highlighting the misalignment.


Flexibility of the use of spaces was integral to the design approach and associated planning. An example of this is the island bench in the kitchen. Its form driven by the other flexible elements within the space, highlighting it as a new insertion, conversing with the other lost puzzle pieces. The island bench is mobile to allow it to move around the spaces, depending on how the spaces are being used
and if the dining table is at its full extension.


The client also has a large collection of music posters and other musical paraphernalia. Housing and presentation of these items was also an important consideration. The use of colour in the new elements was a direct response to the artwork, attempting to work with these items, the profiled elements also celebrating the playful and light-hearted nature of many of works.

Images courtesy of Shannon McGrath

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January 23, 2014 | Property | View comments

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