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BDAV 2013 Building Design Awards

Rose of South Yarra

Winner Building design of the year 2013

Winner Residential Design - New House Over $1M construction cost

Winner Interior Design - Residential

Winner Most Innovative Kitchen Design

Winner Excellence in Use of Glass

Winner Excellence in Use of Brick

Winner Excellence in Use of Timber

Winner Most Innovative Small Works Project

Designer:Wilson id Pty LtdBuilder:Silverstream Constructions
Phone:(03) 9388 0420 Photographer:Trevor Meim Photography
Email:ian@wilsonid.com.au 

This is a robust and unconventional design which is a welcome departure from the norms of residential design in the inner suburban context. It is an exceptionally skilled ordering of a chaotic range of materials and forms which results in a warm, light filled, energetic house.

While the forms of the house evolve more from the constraints of building and planning codes than from any preconceptions of what a house should look like, the design makes reference to earlier industrial building types typical of the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Steel structural elements are left exposed to support a balcony facing the street and the roof over the entry. Recycled brickwork and metal cladding reinforce the early industrial aesthetic, while a playful and seemingly random arrangement of steel framed coloured glazing allows light to penetrate the full height void within. There is a welcome raw quality to these materials: brickwork is a pleasing patchwork of painted and unpainted pressed reds, contrasting with the grey of the concrete blockwork garage wall. Steel is left simply galvanised, and even the glass has a look of being from an earlier era. The glazed void is again evident at the rear of the house, where louvered windows have odd blades of coloured glass amongst clear and figured glass. Here, the void is offset by the back of the recycled brickwork fireplace and associated chimney, and steel bifolding glazed doors (again with random panes of coloured glass) which open on to timber decking and a garden area.

The interior of the house is a fascinating arrangement of recycled and reclaimed materials, which create a rich tapestry within inviting spaces where the light is ever changing. A dropped ceiling of reclaimed painted timber lining boards over the living area is deceptive in the way in which it defines the space – there is a very real sense of luxury in spite of the supposedly humble materials. The kitchen is palpably reminiscent of a commercial café kitchen, without resorting to an overtly commercial fitout. While this is a kitchen that obviously can take hard work, it remains a continuation of the robust tapestry of the house. Busy tiles of different types and formats are used as splashbacks to define functions. The semi-island bench facing the dining area is constructed out of yellow and white glazed brickwork with bullnosed bricks at the external corner; the effect is of traditional 'subway' tiles, but all the more interesting when it is realised that this is actually brickwork.

Bathrooms are as eclectically detailed as the rest of the house – the large format grey floor tiling, glossy wall tiling of a vibrant blue, with colourful tiles of toning hue in the ensuite and, more challengingly, highly patterned wall tiles in the small second bathroom, along with recycled timber and blackened steel cabinetry create unexpectedly beautiful spaces.

Upstairs, the main bedrooms present as a loft-like space, with translucent materials providing natural light and privacy in a dramatically raking wall above an extensive run of low cabinets.

The designer speaks of the 'authenticity of an idea and the rigour with which it is applied'. There is also the mention of 'overuse of materials' – one cannot but feel that in less skilled hands this would be a problem. The originality and courage of the designer won this award – the originality to conceive a brave idea and the courage to bring it to fruition.