The couple who own this house in South Yarra, medical professionals whose children have left home, regularly soak in great architecture on their overseas travels. From Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania to Victor Horta’s grand art nouveau homes in Brussels, numerous images were already embedded in their minds.
Closer to home, architect Allan Powell’s TarraWarra Museum of Art at Yarra Glen, a 45-minute drive from Melbourne, also registered in their psyche. “TarraWarra is breathtaking – the adrenalin rush is on the same level every time we visit,” says the owner, who commissioned Powell & Glenn architects when inspecting the site with Allan and practice partner Ed Glenn and planning to build a new home.
Scaling down from a large 1930s Tudor-style home, the owners’ brief to Powell & Glenn was to take into account the architectural treasures they had visited, but also for a house that would respond to the sloping site (a two-metre fall at the rear oriented to the north) as well as the gentle one-meter fall across the front of the site.
While words such as ‘monumental’ and ‘timeless’ were mentioned, so was the aversion to large open-plan spaces such as living areas. “We certainly weren’t after frosty, stitched-up, formal enclosed rooms,” says the owner. “We were keen to have a more subtle delineation of spaces rather than seeing everything as you open the front door.”
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