What at first may appear to be a somewhat disparate assortment of inspirations, comes together beautifully to form the basis of this Melbourne suburban home design. Antony from MRTN Architects has drawn upon the architectural style of Marcel Breuer and the utilitarian philosophies of Paul Rudolph, along with his own affection of ancient ruins and the architectural experiences of traveling through Europe and South America, to create a truly magnificent family home.
Taking the client’s brief to conceive a family home that makes the most of the north-facing aspect, Antony contested the traditional approach of large street-facing windows that reduce the homeowners’ privacy. Rather, he has designed an Australian hacienda. Reminiscent of historical homes in southern Europe and Mexico, this property has been designed around a front-walled courtyard; the insight being that family life takes place in this walled garden, just as it would any other room in the house.
The courtyard perfectly captures the northern light and warmth and also acts as a privacy screen for the homeowners. A sense of longevity and security is generated by the concrete block work while the porphyry flagstone adds a sense of depth to the color palette. It’s envisaged that, over time, this space will evolve and grow with the family, embracing the inherent imperfections of the materials. The concrete walls should mark, the natural stone should wear and the garden should flourish.
From the courtyard, northern light sifts into the home and a magnificent cedar ceiling disseminates sunshine throughout the space. Polished concrete floors define family areas while a discreet shift to Abyss split stone flooring identifies the more private bedrooms and bathrooms.
As is always the case in design, it is by diverging from habitual expectations and by re-thinking the use of space to really encapsulate the client’s brief that great results are born. This family home exemplifies a perfect case in point.