man|architects is an award-wining boutique studio based in south melbourne, founded in 2008 and formalising over 15 years of collaboration between directors rob nerlich and kate mcmahon with a collective 40 years experience in housing, education and urban design both in melbourne and london. they have a growing portfolio of built work across the residential and commercial sectors throughout victoria, an emerging practice profile and a strong practice philosophy and design process.
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windsor, victoria, 2014
The origins of skin-box house sit within the frame of contemporary modernism, phenomenology and sustainability. In the context of an increasingly connected world of disseminated style it defines itself modestly and idiosyncratically. Rigour of detail is essential to its success – streamlined surfaces, minimal details and a textural material pallet, with a unique daylight quality critical in achieving a sense of harmony and balance and maximising spatial awareness on the narrow site. The slenderly proportioned relationship between inside and outside in such a tiny site, the scale of the door which dissolves this boundary and the judicious use of the cantilevered translucent skin all resonate with the site. Deceptively minimal, the kitchen defies convention by stepping in from both edges to create spatial flow. However it is the stunning use of engineered oak floorboards used as ceiling lining, which defines this house. The living room is glimpsed beyond a vertical splice of stair, oak steps and sheer white walls, as the house steps up the site to the rear. The ceiling and stair unfold in parallax as you enter the room, at once serene and warm, defining inside from outside. The timber ceiling turns down to seamlessly to mask the vertical plane at the far end of the room, end walls masquerading as kitchen cupboards and concealing a walk-in pantry. Sophisticated and sustainable.
vic modern II studio & house
vic modern II studio + house lies hidden in the leafy surrounds of Elwood, concealed from street view by the red brick proportions of the existing Edwardian dwelling. The commission was to focus on discreet accessibility for the clients, and to resolve the labyrinthine floorplan of the existing house, provide abundant natural-light and entertaining space for extended family gatherings, design for indoor-outdoor spatial connections, and accommodate the couple over their retirement years with an eye to possible future assisted-living arrangements. This was achieved within a modest budget that included PV Array, solar hot-water, hydronic heating and reticulated rainwater for toilet flushing. Each client brought distinct desires to the brief. One partner produced a well considered lengthy list, balanced by the quiet yet defining criteria of the other. They recalled fondly the process of commissioning a Graeme Gunn home many years ago. This kicked off lengthy discussions of the precedents of Australian Modernism, and of the sustainable design principles of orientation, light, typology and spatial section. The briefed areas to the main house were reduced to the essentials, resulting in a modest parti which reduced the footprint of the existing dwelling and prioritised the collection and celebration of light and views. Out of this process, vic modern II studio + house was born.
Stationside Cafe and Brighton Apartments
Stationside Lounge Bar Caf’ will be an exciting new hospitality offering just behind the Martin St retail street. The existing steel concrete and brick character are enhanced with refined timber and steel insertions to provide a hospitality offering with a rich industrial character. Outdoor dining and an operable fa’ade populate the street, and a walk up cafe bar provides all day activation. A range of seating options including bar stools, lounge seating (in front of the open fire), and dining tables allow a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for everything from a quick coffee to fine dining. Works on site have commenced and construction completion is due February 2016. The adjacent boutique development of seven two storey townhouse type apartments and one penthouse is located congruent with the Cafe, providing luxury apartments to take advantage of the materiality of the existing brick building with exposed brick walls giving a warehouse feel to the interiors and a link to the new apartments, utilising the history of the site. Two additional levels are proposed in steel, concrete and glass extending the raw materiality of the existing building. Generous roof terraces and operable sun shading provide an activated, ever changing setting for living. To be submitted for planning early 2016.