Clinker Brick House

Studio Bright

In beachside Mentone, Melbourne, a sturdy post-war dwelling has been given extended living spaces that more fully realise the potential of its site. The original robust clinker brick house, conventional in its central passage plan, needed additional living spaces that answered the clients’ wish for retreat, solace and a quiet place away. The plan of the new addition picks up from the existing circulation corridor and sweeps it round to form an arc.

With a deflecting sweep of linked rooms that curl around the south edge, deeply shaded interior benefits from an expansive, sunny northerly garden outlook. Using black brick, this new volume gently touches the existing but establishes a new architectural form and identity for the rear of the site. Overhead, forming the other central element of this project, a concrete roof with ‘Scarpa-esque’ openings creates a protected outdoor terrace and supports a roof garden from which plants spill down and form a living curtain.

Sustainability is addressed by the modest size – only building what one needs with compact spaces that catch the light and feel expansive and generous in other ways. Materials were selected to be robust and durable – to take the knocks of family life. This house was built to last and embodies passive solar design principles.

The new interiors are marked by a particularly strong set of material and tonal choices, responding to this client’s pursuit of very specific mood outcomes. The mood is that of a shaded place of natural repose, like something you might find in nature. Looking up through openings in a heavy concrete slab with green tendrils cascading down is an experience not unlike visiting a sinkhole at the mouth of a cave complex, with the dark material palette soaking up the light.

Furniture: Jardan, Grazia and Co., Mark Tuckey, Dowel Jones, Fermob. Lighting: Grazia and Co., Isamu Noguchi, Anchor Ceramics, TossB (Hub), Le Klint (Angelucci), Life Space Journey, Porcelain Bear, Rich Brilliant Willing. Finishes: Adbri Masonry, Academy Tiles, Austral Masonry, Signorino. Fittings & Fixtures: Rogerseller, Roca, Astrawalker, Bosch.

Photography: Rory Gardiner