Sometimes I wonder if Wowowa Architects are aware of the pure astonishment experienced when people view their wondrous residential creations for the first time. Suffice to say – this Melbourne architecture firm know how to capture attention.
Case in point : Two red brick turrets make up the majority of Wowowa’s latest residential creation, which backs onto Merri Creek in Melbourne’s north. Though outwardly fort-like in its construction, the striking sculptural cylinders dominating the structure are in fact moulded on geometric farm relics and tall brick water structures. Echoes of medieval geometry ring through this strikingly contemporary home.
‘It was our ambition for the site to feel slightly ruinous,’ says Architecture Director at WOWOWA, Monique Woodward, of the colossal structures. ‘The landscaping is beginning to feel overgrown and sprawling,’ she describes. ‘And the robust nature [of the turrets] feels appropriate and protective, backing onto the bushland of Merri Creek.’
Inside contains a feast of materials, textures and colour. The cylindrical towers hold a rumpus room, study, dining room and a sweeping staircase, while the rear structure holds the main living area and kitchen. Here, a giant curved window joins the living room with a view of the large magnolia tree outside, and a solid pink marble slab at the end of the kitchen bench are the most eye-catching features. In a nod to its exterior castle contours, even the kitchen bench is shield-shaped! Light enters the home from different angles throughout the day, casting dappled patterns and refracted colours across surfaces and bringing the hard materials like raw red brick and polished concrete to life.
On the sustainability front, the building is fitted with deep awnings, a solar array and water tank, while its density provides a thermal mass that allows for efficient hydro heating. The red brick veneer and copper trims melt harmoniously into the turmeric hued awnings and a street-facing cocktail deck overhangs the garage. This is a home that feels both contemporary and nostalgic, and will be iconic along the creek banks for many years to come!