Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

 

It’s a dynamic approach to an external elevation; long struts of wafer thin steel, box out the entire side of the house like a metallic honeycomb wall. This sublime design is the work of Clare Cousins Architects, a compact addition to an otherwise unassuming Edwardian cottage in Melbourne. The imposing plate-steel baffle wall divides the space between inside and outside casting long, interior shadows during the day and providing protection form the summer sun. The interior has a sharply raked ceiling, dramatic and elegantly finished in a pale oak timber, a stunning contrast to the charcoal grey steel struts it forms a junction with.

The kitchen is a space of beauty, the pale oak cabinetry matching perfectly the ceiling above. A charcoal, cuboid shape is mounted to the rear kitchen wall. No it’s not a sculptural piece of art commissioned by a local artist, it’s an exhaust unit. Cleverly it appears to be dissected by the suspended, rectilinear lighting. The thin line of the lighting a contrasting silhouette both in the fine line it projects and the material it is made from. So striking is the elevation it almost reads like an abstract painting.

But it’s the doorway that exits through the kitchen, morphing from the bench into a three-dimensional object with its slender profile that is one of the heroes of this design. It is yet another expression of the attention to detail which takes this project to the next level. Rather than a simple architrave and a perforation in the wall, the door becomes part of the kitchen itself.

 

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

Baffle House by Clare Cousins Architects | Yellowtrace

 

Granted, it’s a simple addition, an extension to a residential, home but it’s a thoughtfully layered one. The strength of this space lies in two areas – the pavilion itself, and the small urban courtyard it has been designed to overlook and to expand out into.

Not merely an exterior space to place a table and chairs, this area has been designed specifically to be a living sculpture in it’s own right. Planks of antiquated bluestone are stepping stones through the courtyard. Succulents, cacti and other trees and plants the owner had been collecting over the years, were lovingly incorporated into the courtyard garden. The combination of the house’s baffled wall’s enormous opening and the sky-high raked ceiling within, gives you a feeling of being completely immersed in the garden beyond.

It is a strong, contemporary design that has married beautifully with a far more traditional architectural past. Doesn’t surprise us in the least that it slam-dunked it in the 2016 Houses Awards.

 


[Images courtesy of Clare Cousins Architects. Photography by Lisbeth Grosmann.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle
Contributor

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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