Cloud House in Melbourne by McBride Charles Ryan
The Cloud House is situated in the suburbs of Melbourne (Fitzroy North) and its name comes from the extension of the original Edwardian house; the ensemble is nothing but a beautiful symbiosis between traditional and contemporary architecture.
The character of this project is given by the contrast created by the two architecture styles. This effect can be perceived from both the interior and exterior of the house as it influences both environments. You might think that the cloud like shaped façade is also the main one. However, it was the owners wish that the old structure defined the imagine of the house seen from the main street, whilst the modern addition would be set at the back of his property, demonstrating his respect for the style and feel of the neighborhood. Visiting this house is a like a journey through time, making the differences between the two architecture styles very obvious.
The original structure was renovated and left untouched in terms of exterior appearance; the interior however was finished in white and exotic floral carpets, hosting three bedrooms and a studio, separated by a hallway leading to the back of the house. The following part in the journey through this house is the kitchen, defined by a red-colored box, contrasting with the previous white interior design. Very different indeed from the old building, the kitchen is nothing but a transitory space; the unexpected surprise is the living and dining room, an area where most of the family activities are hosted, an area designed for social activities. The red box is very distinct and contradictory because of its rectangular shape which creates some sort of inconsistency in the design; for the architect this is nothing but another contrast effect between the shape of the kitchen and the form of the exterior curvy shell (in terms of colors as well). Naturally some empty areas are left between the rectangular and curved shapes, leaving room for windows and a door which allow natural light to flood the interior spaces.
The last part of this house is the backyard which acts as a background for the activities undergoing the living room. Its dimensions contribute to the ‘large interior feel’ as they make the entire space look bigger. Despite its proper size, the backyard was left almost untouched; there are very few elements that contribute to the design making it look a bit dull and unimportant. But who would mind the rest of the premises when found in such a beautiful and intriguing interior space. Even if the cloud like extrusion looks like it was inspired from a children’s impression of the cloud it still impresses through both shape and design and through the exquisite building quality which left no mistakes in the execution process.
In my opinion this house is a brilliant and genuine design which creates an environment that is not comfortable and good looking but also playful and joyful. If there’s anything that bothers me about this project it’s the fact that in order to get from the night area to the day area you have to go through the kitchen which is not exactly a proper transitory space where visitors could go through. It should feel more intimate and restricted only to family and close friends.
Architects: McBride Charles Ryan
Location: Fitzroy North VIC, Australia
Design Team: Rob McBride, Debbie-Lyn Ryan, Marie Chen, Cathryn Panaterri, Ben Inman, Gabriella Muto
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: John Gollings
Project Area: 220.0 m2
Extension Area: 70 sqm