EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR SYNERGY - Melbourne

"There is a lovely blurring of boundaries between what is inside and what is outside..." Matt Gibson

In extending the existing single-fronted space, designer Matt Gibson broke the home into pavilions. The front pavilion housing the original bedrooms retained all its heritage features, while the back pavilion contains the garage and the glamorous modern living room-kitchen. Each entity isconnected by sliding glass-walled courtyards.

Moving through the compactness of the Kitchen /Living area one then spatially exhales to again discover the openness and expanse of the rear Living courtyard terrace. The timber platform is housing the functional elements, a limestone paved floor surface running inside/outside promoting a sense of movement and encouraging the concept of interior and exterior as an integrated idea.

Inspired by travels in Sri Lanka where Geoffrey Bawa’s urban residential designs with chequerboard like layouts involving interstitial courtyard spaces placed between built elements, this project similarly involves a series of figure / ground relationships. The placement and articulation of these courtyards was central to injecting interest, flexibility and utility to the previously poorly utilised site. Material, color and detail variation are utilised in combination with the ‘courtyard strategy’ to exaggerate the settings and the temporal division of the ‘pavilions’. Their allocation encourages flexibility in the use of the spaces via blurring notions or interior and exterior.

The new building is all white with modernist overtones – square setting, metallic surfaces etc. The wall sconces illuminating the background of the kitchen are on the exterior wall of the courtyard linking this space with the front of the house. The kitchen cabinets are impressively seamless, not cluttered by a giant elements or clunky appliances and is finished with the same paint surface that gives car duco its gleam. Thus, marble bench seems to be floating, which is another intentional trick of the eye - effect enhancing the illusion of space.

Written by: Milica MANDIĆ

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