The Bridge House / Kister Architects
- region :
375 square meters
Manufacturers: FrankAnd the Godfrey HearstAnd the elfAnd the LaminexAnd the LysaghtAnd the MilliAnd the MondulosAnd the Roger SeilerAnd the SiriusAnd the ToucanAnd the fintechAnd the AWLAnd the Anthony LynchAnd the ArtidomusAnd the bellevue architectureAnd the ByzantineAnd the Caesar StoneAnd the creative windowsAnd the Don korean carpetAnd the fiber rugs+8-8
Text description provided by the architects. Located in Modernist Caulfield, the original was a two-story, 1970s, two-level building that needed to be reimagined. A reference to the home’s modernist beginnings while designing a contemporary extension for a growing family was central to the brief, but with the acquisition of the second plot to the south, what had started as a single site, plus two storeys, was transformed into a two-storey, single-level extension. Landscape architects were involved early in the design phase to ensure an integrated view of the expanded site.
As an initial response, the details of the original concrete facade were extended away from the original building to form the “skin” of the main retreat. Avoiding what has become a traditional strategy, i.e. adding a double floor to the rear, this master suite is accessed by a private glass bridge at ground level. The curved shroud blocks the main bed from the view of the neighbours, but maintains its connection with nature and light. Priority all the time.
Blurring the distinction between the existing and the new structure was a deliberate strategy aimed at creating a unified architectural entity. The original elevated entrance that was once dark and closed underground has been reconstructed to create a new ground level, light-filled and landscaped foyer behind the original arches. The spaces inside the house – the spacious kitchen, hallway, sunken living room, and glass dining area – are defined to maximize versatility and aspects of the garden, creating a sanctuary for the whole family, with an easy transition from public to private areas, inside and out.
The prevailing aesthetic is a delicate balance of old and new: white-on-white concrete floors meet original terrazzo, bright blue velvet rugs, wood inlays envelop the interiors, and burnt orange velvet sofas are a nod to the home’s history. So, too, make custom bronze glass and flush rugs in the sunken hole. The original glass skylight was enlarged and wrapped in a wood-lined ceiling to connect it with nature.
Skylights reduce the need for artificial lighting and are just one of the sustainable principles adopted throughout. Solar panels, hot water and pool heating offset daily energy use, as well as extensive insulation, high-performance double glazing and external blinds. Underfloor heating built into the exposed concrete floor acts as a heat bank during the winter while the concrete maintains a cool finish in the summer. Rainwater is collected to flush toilets and irrigate the landscape. Modified cladding materials achieve a tangible look and feel, without the expensive and environmentally unfriendly on-site concrete.
As a family home, the spread out and the garden enhances the possibilities of working from home, as the glazed driveway to the main sanctuary proves to be an excellent organizing area. Clients can work from home without interruption while their children play in the garden or ramps. In the generous suburban setting, the new building delicately fuses the sensibility of contemporary family living with the architectural remnants of a famous era. The mixed-use design embodies biophilic principles, emphasizing connection to the landscape and flexible living, while also enhancing the existing home.