The client’s brief was to design a home which played an active role in their everyday life, rather than a static shell. Our aim was to develop a design which engages with the rituals and the growth of this young family; blending the external and internal spaces to create movement and life in the environment.
Located on the elbow of the street, the site is sandwiched between two suburban houses and common practice when it comes to locating a suburban house on a site, is to start at the centre of the plot and enlarge the footprint until the space required is met.
Typically remaining on the side of the site is a two narrow strips of unusable landscape and a standard suburban backyard. The backyard’s intention is to give the occupants a sense of connectivity to the outside, however because of poor orientation and spatial planning, the garden is often under valued, resulting in a passive relationship with the interior, In HANS-house, instead of standing next to the backyard, the form cradles and pulls the landscape in and to the centre of the house. Giving the landscape a stronger presence in the overall design of this home.
The backyard shares the rear of the site with the living room, the two spaces are divided by a large glass sliding door and a deep timber clad reveal. The depth of the timber reveal formally articulates and stretches out the hidden gap between the internal and external. The edge of the reveal also creates a handy seat for large family gatherings. By activating the edge, the spaces are encourage to flow in and out of each other Orientated north, the reveal also create an eave to allow for passive solar gain. Also a thick heavy curtain can be pulled across to separate the living room and lock in all the captured heat.
As the backyard moves further to the east it is compressed by the underside of the cantilever box to create a small courtyard. Different to the rear, the courtyard is a more intimate exterior space, the deck is also raised to suggested two distinct zones. As the courtyard digs into the centre of the house, it surrounds and connects itself with the internal spaces. The cool masonry wall to the north and the cantilever of the upper floors shelters the courtyard from the summer sun, while in winter the courtyard remains dry and tucked underneath the upper floors.
The brick wall to the street front, folds down and slides into the house to formalize the entrance. In the kitchen this concrete brick is adopted again to construct the island bench, moving to the kids retreat area, the timber lined ceiling is the underside of the cantilever box, which is articulate as it flows over the window and out into the courtyard. By using common exterior material internally, the house attempts to invite that exterior in and obscure the transition between interior and exterior. Creating a more dynamic relationship internally and its surroundings.
Sitting above the ground floor is the timber box, stretching westwards to the street to greet the large peppercorn tree. The west facing windows is carefully located to capture the views of the tree and at the same time hides behind the foliage to shade itself from the hot setting sun. The opposing façade frames a view of Melbourne’s skyline. Internally the box is carefully divided, with spaces of a slower and relaxed nature (i.e. bathrooms and study) facing the tree, and the more active spaces pointed towards the city.
+ Project facts
Aberfeldie, Victoria, Australia
Architect: M.O.D.O (Michael Ong Design Office) | www.mo-do.net
Project team: Michael Ong
Project area: 350 sq meter
Project year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of M.O.D.O and Ricky Fung
+ About M.O.D.O (Michael Ong Design Office) + Michael Ong
M.O.D.O (Michael Ong Design Office) is a multi-disciplinary design office in Melbourne inspired by simple and considered designs.
We are excited about the rituals and qualities found and lost in everyday spaces, and explore themes of transformation; turning the ordinary and banal into rich and expressive.
Our work forms a foundation for narratives to develop and grow within our constructed spaces and objects. While we are fascinated by the intangible, our work is grounded by solid design strategies, experience, rigor, direction and skill.
From large private houses to tiny jewelry pieces, we greet each project with an open mind and innate sense of curiosity. We always collaborate with our client’s brief and budget to realize a thoughtful, unique and complete project.
bachelor of planning and design | masters of architecture | ARBV/AIA
Born in Melbourne to a young Chinese painter, Michael was exposed to the field of art at an ealry age. Though his passion for art stems strongly from his father, his interest in construction drew him into the discipline of design.
After successfully completing a nomadio house concept for his final visual communication project, Michael enrolled in Architecture at The University of Melbourne. His nomadic house was later selected for the TOP DESIGN 2003 exhibition, held at the Melbourne Museum.
In 2006, after receiving multiple high commendations Michael graduated from Bachelor of Planning and Design (Architecture). Michael went on to complete an internship year at Sean Godsell Architects, BC Architects and Andrew Maynard Architects; and still continues to work with Andrew Maynard Architects today.
He has also studied one semester at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm as part of his masters program.
In 2009, Michael graduated from The University of Melbourne with a Masters of Architecture. His thesis project, which explored the revival and conversion of an old silo into a housing solution was published in the architectural magazine MARK (issue 27).
Continuing his position at Andrew Maynard Architects, Michael responsibilities have grown steadily as the firm developed, from predominantly design, modeling and documentation to delving into most aspects of the architectural process.
Over the years, he has had significant involvement in projects such as the KLCC towers, MOOKS store, HouseHouse, Domino House, Monash P.A.C, Sense Office, Portable Parks and others. During the time, Michael also returned to the University of Melbourne as a design tutor.
In 2011, Michael became a registered Architect, shortly after, MODO was established, with the ambition to create thoughtful, playful and distinctive projects.