Somme Houses in Edithvale

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Somme Houses in Edithvale

Real Estate Project in Victoria, Australia – design by Jarchitecture, architects

8 Jan 2018

Somme Houses

Architects: Jarchitecture

Location: Edithvale, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Somme Houses

Somme Houses in Edithvale

This development of two townhouses sits on a quiet cul-de-sac at one end and a beach on the other. Given the sites contextual tension between urbanism and landscape, the design is squeezed and defensive looking at one end and at the other end expands while the massing breaks down toward nature. As a response to the harsh environment at the site, the materials palette works on the premise of ‘tough on the outside, soft on the inside’; external materials are raw, robust and no maintenance, while the interior is soft on the eye and to the touch.

Somme Houses in Edithvale Somme Houses in Edithvale

The exterior materials are robust in response to the sea’s destructive power and mixed in response to the assorted housing styles of the neighbourhood. The exterior materials are mainly untreated and have a long-life cycle with little to no maintenance. The dwellings incorporate varying materials and textures to break down the scale and reduce visual bulk. Cladding materials include corten steel which has a rusted finish, effectively beating the sea to the punch line.

Somme Houses in Edithvale

Also included are recycled timber/plastic boards, mimicking the weatherboards in the area but in a contemporary recycled material that does not deteriorate for a long time. Textured white Japanese ceramic tiles represent the theme of white brick in the area, while colourbond steel cladding fits with the vernacular. Painted render is used as small infill nothingness, letting the bold materials do the work. This variety of materials, together with contrasting dark window frames creates visual delight.

Somme Houses in Edithvale Somme Houses in Edithvale

The building sits low on the land, protecting the lower level with the foreshore scrub while the upper level sits just over the foreshore planting for endless views.

Somme Houses in Edithvale Somme Houses in Edithvale

The dwellings are set out so that the entry axis of each space has a direct line of site to the landscape beyond. The beach can be seen from the letterbox, interior courtyard from the bedroom entry, the kitchen counter seating looks directly up to the sky and so on. We aim to connect with nature and create a larger sense of space than the site would suggest is possible.

Somme Houses in Edithvale Somme Houses in Edithvale

Given the necessary visual connection to the foreshore and longitudinal squeeze of the site, planning for north facing living space was not achievable. Skylights have been incorporated to bring more light to the centre of the dwellings main living spaces.

Somme Houses in Edithvale Somme Houses in Edithvale

The internal spaces are not vast, but the raked ceilings create a grand sense of space in the upper living area. The master suite is more intimate through the use of a split level which also creates the opportunity to look over the kitchen to the water. The ensuite is the centerpiece of the house with its massive scale, open shower, heated floors, beautiful materials, massive skylight and planting; pure indulgence.

Somme Houses in Edithvale

These houses are designed to embrace the harsh, but beautiful location and allow the occupant to be completely immersed in all that surrounds it.

Somme Houses in Edithvale

What were the key challenges?
One of the key challenges we experienced on this project was with the builder. Part way through the construction phase, the builder went into liquidation, leaving the construction site half completed, and with many defects already identified. It was a long process navigating the insurance requirements and finding a new builder, but once it was moving again, everyone worked tirelessly to achieve the best outcome.

Somme Houses in Edithvale

What were the solutions?
This location of this project experiences the extremes of weather; wild winds carrying salt and sand to every corner of the property. The external materials therefore needed to be researched and selected with their longevity and maintenance requirements in mind.

Somme Houses in Edithvale

Somme Houses in Edithvale – Building Information

Project size: 580 sqm
Site size: 574 sqm
Completion date: 2017
Building levels: 2

Somme Houses in Edithvale

Photography: Alex Reinders

Somme Houses in Edithvale images / information received 080118


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