A dark exterior gives way to muted, serene interiors in this U-shaped residence by Studiofour.
For a project located on a greenfield, or a rural plot earmarked for development, Melbourne-based firm Studiofour aimed to make nature central: Mayfield Avenue Residence is a north-facing, U-shaped building that wraps around a central garden with an existing jacaranda tree.
The client had asked for "an architecture and interior of contrast." The resulting home has a dark exterior that is selectively open to the street and a light, "distinctly warm" interior, as the architects describe. On the ground floor, the facades are solid in some areas and glazed with floor-to-ceiling windows in others, particularly around the garden.
On the upper floor, however, horizontal screens clad the street-facing facade to "provide privacy from the street below, whilst maximizing interaction with the adjacent landscape," say the architects. The screens direct views throughout the home, orienting residents toward the garden and providing engagement and intimacy within the home in certain spaces.
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On the interior, the color palette takes inspiration from the tones of a natural stone that was selected early on in the design process. From it, muted hues ranging from whites and light beiges to rosy pinks and warm taupes were drawn out and emphasized in specific architectural elements including light fixtures, wood flooring, stone countertops in the kitchen and bathroom, and a double-sided brick fireplace.
Light also helped sculpt the home, determining the orientation of two separate living areas which were located to capture northern light. Spaces like the kitchen, dining, and sleeping areas, however, "sought softer light," say the architects.
Together, the natural textures and subtle tones create a careful contrast between the interior and exterior, but both are united in their emphasis on views.