When it comes to building space, Australia really is the lucky country. In fact, it’s almost become a rejoin of our international friends – ask them what they envy about Aussie design and they’ll be quick to point out how much room we get compared to the pint-sized apartment spaces of New York or Stockholm. In creating not one but two family homes on this inner-suburban block in Malvern, Pandolfini Architects have stayed true to the Australian advantage of space while making the most of a large suburban block.
The original building was a true ‘family home’, originally purchased in the 1970s and a long-time home base for the clients. When it came time for the son of the original owners to move back to live with his father, the decision was made to build two new homes on the site so they could all live together – without living together.
“The brief was simple; create two generous homes on the site that didn’t feel like townhouses” says Dominic Pandolfini. To achieve this, Pandolfini Architects have flipped the traditional side-by-side townhouse layout to arrange one dwelling behind the other, each with their own sprawling entry spaces, generous living areas and gardens. In fact, you’d barely guess at the second home from the front façade, with its striking black zinc cladding and stained black timber patterns creating a sleek modern form.
Inside the homes, the distinctions of space are more clearly defined, with the two-bedroom apartment at the front for the father and the larger three-bedroom apartment for the son and his young family at the rear. Pandolfini Architects drew on elements typically associated with larger homes to bring light and space throughout each townhouse. The back townhouse is spoilt with a dramatic double height foyer space, while moving through the space heavily textured concrete render and black timber work to subtly differentiate the spaces without crowding the design.
Making space for two generations isn’t easy – tailoring each space to the different residents even more so. Beyond the obvious social and financial benefits, these townhouses prove bigger isn’t always better, or in fact even necessary; just ask this lucky family.