It's always a challenge to fit a modern building into a period neighbourhood. In spite of an uncompromisingly contemporary design, Ellivo Architects achieved harmony at Paddington Residence by sticking to a palette of quality raw materials inside and out...
Minimal and raw, yet textured and welcoming, the Paddington Residence is an exploration of flexibility, space, and materials. Designed by and for Ellivo Architects' Principal Mason Cowle and his family, the challenge was to bring a rigorously contemporary home to an historical neighbuorhood.
The existing 400 square metre site presented additional challenges and opportunities including a 100-year-old protected fig tree, a 3-metre-wide laneway, and a steep 14-degree slope. Beyond simply satisfying the family’s spatial requirements, the design is a clear and flexible solution, creating simple, layered spaces that maximise natural light, breezes, and views while also providing ample privacy for the owners.
The concept for the home is a procession of 5 distinct spaces, each with their own function, seamlessly transitioning from the fig tree to the west and the views of the city to the east. The spaces begin with the front entry deck defined by the canopy of the fig tree, that flows to the kitchen space via bi-fold doors. These doors then open to the heart of the home - a stunning double height dining volume - the hub and central meeting point of the residence.
Next is the more intimate volume of the living space which opens up and transforms via large, flexible, sliding glass doors to the main deck. From here, the family can retreat to their own private spaces. The parents’ suite forms a loft-like space looking towards the city and down into the dining space. Conversely, their teenager’s area overlooks the pool and local views into the neighbourhood.
The open-planned nature of the living spaces allows the family to choose what areas they inhabit depending on time of the year and time of the day. During mild temperatures, 16 metres of sliding glass in the living and dining areas work in tandem with high level louvers in the master bedroom to draw the prevailing south-east breezes through the home providing cross ventilation. The versatility of the sliding doors and curtains also allows the choice between complete privacy or openness.
Materials throughout the house are used in a raw and honest way. Folded steel staircases, handmade steel handrails, and burnished concrete floors illustrate how they were made and are allowed to naturally weather or rust. This honesty of materials helps the modern home fit into a neighbourhood of historical homes.