Outside the box

Highly contemporary house
For this new house designed by Scott West, architecture, building, condominium, cottage, elevation, estate, facade, home, house, landscaping, mansion, mixed use, property, real estate, residential area, villa, brown
For this new house designed by Scott West, the landscaping follows orthogonal lines, and incorporates a runnel water feature.

Taking the less conventional approach to design is a sure way to give a house a strong identity and sense of place. Invariably, form is dictated by function, and building materials take on a whole new significance.

For this project, architect Scott West created a bold, multi-layered facade where walls slice through windows and cutouts provide changing perspectives that blur the line between inside and out. The sculptural, geometric form of the architecture extends to the landscaping, where the entry path turns at right angles and is flanked by terraced gardens.

"The house is on an exposed corner site," says West. "Consequently, the owner wanted the suggestion of a barrier between the street and the house without the unfriendly look of a fence. We turned the front door sideways so it is not an open invitation for just anyone to wander up the path."

Strong, bold materials and an absence of large windows on the corner elevation also create a visual defense. West teamed natural slate, ipeª hardwood and stucco with a new proprietary bamboo tongue-and-groove siding. Each material defines a separate piece of the 3-D composition.

"Rather than presenting rooms as a collection of little boxes, I designed the house as a sculptural assembly of spaces," says West. "The gaps in between the solid planes create a negative detailing, which is where the windows are positioned."


This master bedroom on the upper level opens architecture, building, elevation, estate, facade, home, house, lighting, property, real estate, residential area, sky, villa, window, blue, black
This master bedroom on the upper level opens out to a private balcony. Similarly, the adjoining bathroom has its own private terrace, with a garden and Japanese maple tree.

At the front, a chimney-like element wrapped in ipeª wood encloses mechanical services, while a matching horizontal plane forms an awning above the entry.

"The ipeª and bamboo help to bring a little organic softness to the modern design and the hard-edged stone and stucco forms," the architect says.

Most of the materials appear to slice through the house to form interior walls. Slate flooring also runs from the inside to the outside, creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living areas.

A semi-freestanding wall of wood defines the main circulation axis through the house. As with the exterior, this features cutouts that allow glimpses of the kitchen and dining areas on the other side. West says the wall is clad in prefinished wood flooring with mitred corners, which was a highly cost-effective solution.

Interior designer Catherine Cocke enhanced the grey tone-on-tone colour palette in the house. In the large, galley-style kitchen, grey cabinets are teamed with custom marble benchtops and a Porcelanosa white tile splashback. However, it is the extra-long island that forms the centrepiece of the room.

Family room with textured feature wall  part architecture, house, interior design, living room, real estate, black, white
Family room with textured feature wall part of highly contemporary new home by architect Scott West.

"The site has a slight slope, which is absorbed within the design," says West. "The floor level steps down in the hallway and kitchen. We designed a continuous island benchtop, but because the floor level is higher at one end than the other, the top is an ideal height for a dining table. At the other end the floor is 150mm lower, which is the right height for working at the island."

Set on the lower level, the living room has a high ceiling and a light, airy feel. This is helped by the seamless flow to a patio, which effectively doubles the size of the room. Here, the ipeª wood appears to slide through the glass to form a large wall and a suspended ceiling element.

In the master suite, it is the slate as well as the ipeª, that flows from inside to out.

Jun 28, 2014
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