Melbourne architecture firm, B.E Architecture has gone to extraodinary lengths to create a unique banding pattern on the façade of this house in South Yarra.
In search of a material that reflected the architecture of the Byzantine, the architects chose robust travertine stone in 10 different sizes and two tones for Cassell Street Residence in South Yarra, Victoria. The architects selected slabs from opposite sides of the same quarry to get the variation in colour.
The stone, says the architect, combines with the building’s strong rectilinear form to give it the appearance of strength and endurance, while the changes in size and tone create subtle bandings that soften and balance its impact.
The deep apertures formed on the first floor make the building read as a singular and massive stone edifice and in doing so shelter the western windows as well as protecting the occupant from the nearby traffic.
The upper volume is supported by a slightly recessed base finished in a complimentary neutral tone render to create continuous banding across the entire building. Inward facing areas tucked underneath the first level are characterised by expansive glazing that opens the living areas to a secluded garden space which surrounds the building.
“The strong rectilinear form, made from natural stone, has a quality of looking older than it is – as though it could have been standing in the same place unchanged for a hundred years or existed in another world all together. “ – B.E Architecture
A visitor enters from the street into the heart of the building passing a grand staircase rising three floors from basement garage to the upstairs bedrooms. The curving staircase contrasts with the strong rectilinear form of the exterior and is used as a separation device to define the ground floor living areas into two distinct zones. The day/summer areas facing north and overlooking a pool and outdoor eating area; the night/ winter areas facing south and east into the more sheltered back yard. The strategic zoned planning separates the master suite from the children's areas. A soft, curved skylight accentuates the division and brings light into the core of the building.
The exterior materials carry into the interiors in an inviting palette of travertine, warm greys, natural timber and soft lighting. The travertine floors expand the entire building creating a strong continuity throughout the house. The bathroom is fully clad in travertine with a noticeable reference to the façade. The stone and timber kitchen is highlighted with a unique mirrored island bench and a feature marble benchtop.
With its statuesque appearance and soft interiors, Cassell Street is a contemporary family home with a sense of purpose and history.