Situated in Melbourne, Australia, Robert Mills Architects and Hassell, Interior Designers completed Ross Street Residence. The timber, zinc and concrete house with large openings is a surprise in itself! The light, the transparency, the sharp angular exterior which is followed within, is softened by the organic forms in the residence’s interior. The materials used as well as the design applied appeal a clearly modern architectural home.
The house has been designed in such a way to meet the clients’ needs; it was of outmost importance that both interior and exterior spaces have a linkage and a fluidity of movement between them despite the confined site. The transition from one room to another is with as little obstacles as possible therefore creating a spacious and open space environment. The frameless glass windows and the circular void right above the organically formed staircase bring abundant light into the space therefore maximizing the available area. The frameless glass windows allow for the creation of a seamless link of the interior and the exterior which brings the outside in and vice versa.
The residence consists of two floors, the ground floor and the first; the communal areas are located on the ground floor. A low cement slab platform of continuous length creates a linear connection which runs along the wall of the ground floor and out to the open courtyard. This flexible and multipurpose design is transformed as soon as a vertical connection is made to it; it becomes a fireplace, a shelf, a kitchen, and the dog kennel. At the end of the kitchen a pivoted door provides the entry to a home office with a prospect and refuge from the activity of the other communal spaces.
An organic steel staircase with a sculpture-like form elegantly coils through the center of the ground floor and instigates a vertical relationship between the internal horizontal levels. According to the architects the staircase is influenced by David Chipperfields work. Right above the staircase an oversized circular skylight floods the first floor and the ground floor with ample of natural light; one more element which creates a linkage between the interior and the exterior as requested by the residents of this house.
“On the first floor, a gallery style walkway echoes this linear connection between the master bedroom, guest bedrooms and bathroom.” The clean lines and the interior sharp angularity create a clean, linear, modernist aesthetic. The buildings architectural design and the high quality materials and finishes create a sophisticated and harmonious balanced design. The harmonious combination of materials, such as earthy limed American oak, limestone and concrete to smooth high gloss paint, chrome and mirrors, as well as the polished concrete flooring which runs out to the courtyard provides a flawless transition between the internal and external spaces.
At the rear of the property, a folding concrete blade forms the boundary wall and the pool edge; additional folding creates an asymmetrical yet balanced composition. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow for an uninterrupted view of the pool which creates an illusion of expansiveness. A lot of architectural details and characteristics of the house constitute elements of a well-designed bioclimatic residence. The natural lighting, and ventilation and the planting which acts as a natural shading device from the low western sun are such bioclimatic characteristics. Lack of openings in the front facade provides sanctuary from the noise and activity of life.
Hassell Architects cooperated with Rober Mills Architects and undertook the interior design of this residence with a humanistic scale approach. The natural palette of colors and the materials used create a stylishly elegant interior. The interior expresses a spatial simplicity, in which rooms are interconnected and their functions amplified as it portrays a dynamic lifestyle. In essence, this project is a pure exploration in an uncompromising modernist language.