Cantilevered house achieves lighter-than-air aesthetic

This house by Teo Cavallo has an airy appeal
Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: Scott Burrows
Living area with white furnature and polished floors ceiling, floor, flooring, hardwood, interior design, living room, real estate, room, wall, wood flooring, orange, brown, yellow
Living area with white furnature and polished floors

A driving maxim in suburban architecture is that no design exists in a vacuum. Everything from the neighbouring houses to the outlooks will inform the shape of a residence.

This was certainly the case when architect Teo Cavallo was asked to create a large family house for his clients on a prominent corner site.

There are several historic worker's cottages in the area, while across the street there is a grand, classically styled home, says Cavallo.

"We wanted the new house to strike a balance between the substantial residence and the cottages. At the same time, the design needed to mitigate its presence on the hilltop corner site playing down the mass of the house with architecture that would create a light, airy appearance."

Built over two levels, with garaging on a half-basement below, the house achieves a stature in keeping with the residence opposite.

Outlook from living area onto Deck. architecture, ceiling, daylighting, floor, home, house, interior design, living room, real estate, roof, window, gray
Outlook from living area onto Deck.

To achieve visual lightness and optimise indoor-outdoor living, Cavallo designed the house with cantilevered roof and floor planes that appear to hover out over the land. The impression is all the stronger at night when the dark tones of the supporting exterior walls recede from sight, leaving only the planar forms on display.

"The cantilevered forms are supported by a steel frame, while the slender floor planes were achieved with concrete slabs. In fact, most of the structure is concrete," says Cavallo.

The projecting floor planes are on the side of the home with optimum views. In the upper-level living spaces and the informal rumpus room directly below, glass panels pull back from the prominent corner, creating expansive living spaces that blur the line between inside and decking.

On the other side the house responds to the street environment with a wall loosely divided into three segments, to visually break down the mass of the home to the scale of the smaller cottages.

Finishes on the new house also connect with the look of the cottages. Brick-like elements reference step-outs on the cottages, which are usually a product of 1950s renovations to these much older dwellings.

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Wide shot of living area - dining room.

The floor plan of the new house also references the worker's homes, with the inclusion of a classic backyard and central linking passage. However, unlike the past, when a corridor usually led off to compartmentalised rooms, Cavallo's take was different. Here, the double-height corridor, or gallery, links to different zones rather than rooms both across the house and between floors.

"The impression from the front door is a dramatic one," says the architect. "A stair with open treads echoes the transparency of the cantilevers on the exterior, appears much like a functional sculpture. The corridor and stair lead from the ground-floor children's rooms up to the informal living space, or from the living area across the void to the media room. This divide also serves to provide acoustic separation between areas and a degree of privacy from one zone to the next vital in a family house with growing children."

All cabinets and wardrobes are built in, creating a clean, unfussy interior.

"Another advantage of this family home is the relationship between the living spaces on both levels to the outdoors," says the architect. "Decks and windows overlook the rear yard and the pool allowing parents to keep one eye on dinner and the other on the children's activities."

Oct 29, 2012

Credit list

Landscape designer
Aaron Worth, Utopia Landscape Design
Rheinzink titanium zinc in Graphite Grey installed by Metalcraft
Antracita Lappato travertine in Vanilla and Platinum from Apavisa Newstone Collection
Paints and varnishes
Doors and windows
Vantage Architectural Window Systems by Lifestyle Windows
Real Flame Pure Vision
Eco Veneer Even Ristretto timber veneer in 2-pack Ermine White; Häfele glass doors
CaesarStone in Snow
Kitchen sink
Oven, cooktop, microwave, dishwasher
Vental external blind
Shower stall
Frameless by Euroglass
Natural granite
RBC Constructions
Spandeck in Zincalume finish
Spotted gum from Queensland Timber Flooring; Ontera Envisions Bronze carpet tile; Metropol Aspect Linear Logic carpet
Caribou Lighting
Built by Tim Valance
Cabinet company
Simpson Cabinets
Colourbacked glass
Wine fridge
Eco Veneer Ristretto wood veneer and Eco Velvet veneerr
Loop & Friends, Pure Basic, both by Villeroy & Boch; Laufen Living double basin
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