A Family Home in Australia Features a Playful Version of the Classic Pitched Roof

A Family Home in Australia Features a Playful Version of the Classic Pitched Roof

By Kelly Dawson
An architect's creative reinterpretation of a traditional pitched roof sets a property apart from its neighbors.

Before construction could begin on a new build outside central Melbourne, Paul Porjazoski faced a distinctly suburban problem: uniformity. As the co-director of Bent Architecture, a firm based in the same Australian city, he was tasked with constructing a contemporary, two-story home on a small lot surrounded by a number of post-war properties set on single levels. Porjazoski's new house on the block would automatically stand out from the established houses, but he wanted to make sure it would still retain some of the classic characteristics of the setting. So, he decided to emulate the area’s predominant feature (the pitched roof) as the most eye-catching detail in his modern design—but with a twist. 

Porjazoski thought that reinterpreting a traditional pitched roof in a highly angled form would set the home apart from its neighbors. The roof is made from Colorbond Custom Orb in "Wallaby."

In Porjazoski's version, metal angles pivot above what appears to be a single-level house from the street, but actually stretches just high enough to conceal two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. "The pitched-roof form is immediately recognizable as a distorted version of the neighboring roofs," he notes. The roof alone, which Porjazoski refers to as "playful," surely gives the address an unlikely edge over the rest of its unknowing competitors. But, he didn't stop there. Porjazoski opted to give its jet-black exterior contrasting vertical stripes of timber battens, which foil the simple weatherboard sidings of the nearby properties. "The result is a house that's simultaneously referential and divergent from the prevailing street character," Porjazoski says. 

Although the property looks like a one-story home from the street, its second level is more noticeable from the enclosed courtyard. Blackbutt vertical battens provide texture to shadowclad exterior plywood with an Onyx Quantum Aquaoil finish. 

The rest of the home is perhaps just as rebellious as its front, and yet, such a bold first impression somehow makes it feel calmer. Another priority of the project was to preserve as much of the outdoor space as possible, since the homeowners are avid gardeners who requested an area to work outside. Porjazoski created an enclosed courtyard in the center of the property for this purpose, but it also acts as another one of his clever solutions. The courtyard brings natural light into the living spaces on the ground floor and provides ventilation throughout.  

The owners, a couple in their 40s with a young child, wanted a home with easy access to the outdoors. "Large sliding doors establish a fluid connection with the outdoor spaces," Porjazoski says, which includes a courtyard and rear garden. 

Once inside, the mood shifts. Porjazoski wanted to capitalize on the amount of natural light afforded to the interiors with the addition of a courtyard, so the common areas take on an airy quality. A minimalist white palette intertwines them, which also helps keep a fair amount of attention on the open-air options. "The living area is straddled by both the courtyard and rear yard, creating continuous physical and visual links between internal and external spaces," Porjazoski says. "It feels more like a garden pavilion than a typical living room." 

Blackbutt window treatments and a polished-concrete floor unify the kitchen, dining, and living areas on one end of the courtyard. A Haiku ceiling fan by Big Ass Fans provides extra air. 

Gewinn pendant lights match the woodwork in the kitchen. Urban Edge's Mutina "Tex" Splashback tiles add a graphic element against Flexipanel cupboard doors painted in "Parchment Matte."

Plasterboard was used on the walls and ceilings of the interiors to accentuate an abundance of natural light.  

The rest of the nearly 2,000-square-foot design remains consistent with Porjazoski's subtle creativity. A study on the opposite end of the courtyard acts as a quiet workspace where the owners can keep watch over the activities of their young child. And in the three bedrooms, large windows and straightforward details mirror those found in the more public areas of the home. "We were determined to make sure the internal experience of the space would not be compromised by the traditional construction techniques employed to build the project," Porjazoski says. In the end, he states, the home was made to look and feel "simultaneously familiar and surprising."

One homeowner is studying part-time and requested a quiet workspace. The desk is made out of plywood and Licorice Linea from Laminex. 

A Breezway Louver window brings fresh air into a bedroom. "Despite their modest size, all spaces feel expansive, thanks to the constant presence of generous windows," Porjazoski says. 

Retaining as much of the backyard as possible was a necessity, since the homeowners enjoy gardening. An exposed aggregate concrete deck and hardwood sleeper paths bring some of the home's materials into the open space.

Project Credits:

-Architect: Bent Architecture

-Builder/General Contractor: Poles-A-Part Design & Construction

-Structural Engineer: Scott and Associates

-Photography: Tatjana Plitt Photography 


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