Middle Park House by KPDO + CJA


This home has had a series of renovations over the past century; the original Edwardian home was converted into apartments in the 1930s and then a substantial family home in the 1980’s. Our brief was to restore the Art Deco facade, retain the existing footprint and add a third level.

The house is located directly opposite the beach in Middle Park and is constantly filled with beautiful light. Morning sun strikes the garden aspect, and at the end of the day the sun sets across the bay.

We were fortunate and had the opportunity to live in the house for a year during the design process. This experience inspired us to design a series of calm spaces which would be articulated with light.

The planning has been carefully considered to create a series of distinct rooms, rather than an open plan. Joinery is placed to create spaces, but still allow views to flow from room to room and then to the horizon.

Materials have been selected to provide understated tones within a neutral palette. The neutral colour palette supports the play of light at different times of day. The overall feeling is extremely soft and one feels visually and emotionally connected at all times to the expansive sea, sky and garden views. At the same time the house has a feeling of intimacy & warmth, perfect for family living.

Our client’s original intention was to demolish the existing house and build a completely new structure. After living in the house for a year, we thought the existing building worked well with the views and light and had a distinct ‘personality’. In short, it would be a shame to demolish a house which had stood for 100 years.

In all our projects our view is very much to protect as much of the built environment as possible. Trades that existed 100 years ago, don’t exist anymore, or are considered too expensive. We therefore chose to restore the existing building and protect the craftsmanship of the Art Deco period.

We believe sustainability is about preserving as much as we can without needlessly wasting existing material. So, the most substantial decision regarding sustainability was to work with the existing fabric of the house.

Once this decision was made, materials and servicing were all designed around principles of sustainability, including a smart managed hydronic heating system, double glazed windows, and positively shaded windows with curtains and screens.

We selected natural materials such as stone, and stained (not painted) timber, windows are either steel or timber, and not aluminium. Additional ESD attributes include solar hot water booted system, solar pool heating and rainwater harvesting for drip feed garden irrigation systems.

Architects: Kerry Phelan Design Office & Chamberlain Javens Architects
Location: Beaconsfield Parade, Melbourne VIC, Australia
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Derek Swalwell

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