Located in Armadale, an up-and-coming leafy suburb of Melbourne, Australia, this monolithic-looking residence by local practice b.e architecture appears as if it has been carved rather than built. Comprising 260 tons of light grey granite that seamlessly clad the building’s exterior, the house is characterized both by a sculptural heftiness and an ethereal weightlessness, most pronounced when the sunlight illuminates the stone’s furrowed texture.
The inherent paradox of a weightless stone structure is further enhanced by the volumetric composition where the cantilevered upper floor seems to be floating despite its stark solidity. Piercing the house’s granite armour, large timber shutters create yet another subtle juxtaposition, this time between the smooth wooden surfaces and the rough granite facades.
The blueprint of playful contradictions has been also applied to the building’s interiors that combine a minimalist aesthetic of stone floors, white walls and trim less fittings with a whimsical selection of furniture that range from modernist classics to vintage pieces and bespoke designs that playfully reflect the clients’ personalities.
On the ground floor, the generously day lit, open-plan living space completely opens up to an adjacent courtyard, courtesy of fully retractable, floor-to-ceiling glazed doors, purposely designed to cater to the owners’ frequent entertaining. For the same reason, the large dining table is a bespoke design that can be extended when hosting large groups. Meanwhile, an idiosyncratic light fitting in the form of a suspended four-meter ring featuring hundreds of multi-coloured disks, which is also custom-made, sets the tone for the house’s fun-loving décor that includes items such as clear Perspex display boxes serving as a coffee table, a turquoise lacquered cabinet that injects an element of colour into the living room, and a bespoke built-in, olive green velvet sofa that provides comfortable seating in the TV room.
The eclectic selection of furniture is complemented by a series of art works selected by the architects, including pieces by artists David Noonan, Mark Hilton, Heather B. Swann and Imants Tillers, which have been strategically placed throughout the house.
On the upper floor, the private quarters include two guest bedrooms and a spacious master suite that opens onto an internal courtyard planted with Japanese maples and featuring a discrete outdoor shower while a granite-lined en-suite bathroom, which features a free-standing bathtub and a hefty basin block carved from solid blocks of stone, provides another space of serenity and relaxation.
The attention to detail that the architects have put into the design of the residence is astounding. From the split-faced granite blocks that line the doors and windows inside the house, the work of a specialized stone mason who ensured that both the external and the internal stone applications were meticulously constructed, to the curvaceous brass handrail that follows the concave stairwell space and the oculus above, there is no element of the house that has not been thoughtfully designed and flawlessly constructed.