Mullet House
March Studio delivers a playful addition to a polite Edwardian-era villa, and brings some personality to the streetscape in the process. If you’re looking for a tidy synopsis of March Studio’s latest house, look no further than its “Mullet” moniker. The house has a serious case of split personality. Its front – the business end, if you like – presents as a polite Edwardian timber villa. Step past this thin veneer of bourgeois civility, though, and down comes the hair. Suddenly, you’re confronted by the flowing lines, thrusting cantilevers and cocksure machismo of mid-century modernism at its boldest – albeit with a very literal twist. Located in Kensington, in Melbourne’s inner west, Mullet House is the second major residential project completed by March Studio. This practice is best known for its highly graphic shop fitouts for cosmetics brand Aesop. Scott Smith is the builder who worked with March studio on the fitouts and it was Scott and his partner Phoebe Moore who commissioned Mullet House as a home for themselves and their three young children. Scott built the house himself, which sounds like the prelude to a nightmare of never-ending alterations (a builder’s home never being finished, so the saying goes) but which turned out to be a boon. As March Studio director Rodney Eggleston said on a tour around the building: “Scott and Phoebe built everything in the drawings – they really value design and doing it the right way.” Kensington’s streetscapes are largely a mishmash of industrial building fabric and timber workers’ cottages, many of which are subject to heritage overlays. The Smiths bought their villa with the intention of renovating and extending it; with a decent-sized garden at its rear, there was plenty of room to expand. The house, though, was subject to those aforementioned heritage controls. In this sense, the challenge facing March Studio was a familiar one for architects operating in Melbourne’s inner suburbs: how do you deliver a contemporary home and its concomitant amenity, while preserving the heritage character of the existing dwelling? If the solution isn’t pastiche, often the architect will opt for contrast to clearly define the new against the old. While Victorian terraces and Edwardian cottages appear to form a united front of curtain-twitching conformity in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, the streets are full of houses with hidden mullets. Refreshingly, thanks to its corner location, the wilder side of Mullet House is out and proud. Mullet House Projects Words Maitiú Ward Article Products and materials Project credits The soaring roof plane of the mullet-like addition floats above clerestory glazing. The soaring roof plane of the mullet-like addition floats above clerestory glazing. Image: John Gollings 1 of 12 March Studio delivers a playful addition to a polite Edwardian-era villa, and brings some personality to the streetscape in the process. If you’re looking for a tidy synopsis of March Studio’s latest house, look no further than its “Mullet” moniker. The house has a serious case of split personality. Its front – the business end, if you like – presents as a polite Edwardian timber villa. Step past this thin veneer of bourgeois civility, though, and down comes the hair. Suddenly, you’re confronted by the flowing lines, thrusting cantilevers and cocksure machismo of mid-century modernism at its boldest – albeit with a very literal twist. Located in Kensington, in Melbourne’s inner west, Mullet House is the second major residential project completed by March Studio. This practice is best known for its highly graphic shop fitouts for cosmetics brand Aesop. Scott Smith is the builder who worked with March studio on the fitouts and it was Scott and his partner Phoebe Moore who commissioned Mullet House as a home for themselves and their three young children. Scott built the house himself, which sounds like the prelude to a nightmare of never-ending alterations (a builder’s home never being finished, so the saying goes) but which turned out to be a boon. As March Studio director Rodney Eggleston said on a tour around the building: “Scott and Phoebe built everything in the drawings – they really value design and doing it the right way.” Kensington’s streetscapes are largely a mishmash of industrial building fabric and timber workers’ cottages, many of which are subject to heritage overlays. The Smiths bought their villa with the intention of renovating and extending it; with a decent-sized garden at its rear, there was plenty of room to expand. The house, though, was subject to those aforementioned heritage controls. In this sense, the challenge facing March Studio was a familiar one for architects operating in Melbourne’s inner suburbs: how do you deliver a contemporary home and its concomitant amenity, while preserving the heritage character of the existing dwelling? If the solution isn’t pastiche, often the architect will opt for contrast to clearly define the new against the old. While Victorian terraces and Edwardian cottages appear to form a united front of curtain-twitching conformity in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, the streets are full of houses with hidden mullets. Refreshingly, thanks to its corner location, the wilder side of Mullet House is out and proud. The name Mullet House is a reference to the shape of the addition. Image: John Gollings Mullet House’s respectable Edwardian half faces north-west. From the rear of this hipped roof volume, a vaguely Miesian, cantilevered box shoots out to the south-east across the sloping site. It was during the construction of this new volume that Mullet House was christened. Scott was woken one night by an argument between two barstool critics on their way home from the pub. The sight of the unfolding extension had stopped them in their tracks. As Scott recalls with glee, “One guy said to the other, ‘I don’t know much about architecture, mate, but that looks like a mullet to me.’ It was perfect! We’ve called it Mullet House ever since.” While this jutting, timber-clad volume is clearly the party side of the equation, its form is the product of some very pragmatic considerations. Pushed close to the street boundary, the volume provides privacy and protection for a north-facing courtyard garden. Its raised position has also allowed the architects to partially excavate precious space below for additional living and service areas, and a carport. The roof, meanwhile, which reads as a single pitch hovering over clerestory glazing, has been subtly deformed, twisting up at its south-eastern and north-western corners to capture views of the city and northern light, respectively.

Description by http://architectureau.com/

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  • Iliana Ivanova
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