Concealed behind the concrete facade of Edition Office’s Hawthorn House, lies in wait a sensitive and balanced entity that draws strength from contradictions.
- Design: Edition Office
- Location: Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
- Completed: 2019
- Gross area: 680m2
- Architects: Kim Bridgland, Aaron Roberts, Jonathan Brener
AN ABSTRACTION MATERIALIZED in the middle of an urban neighborhood, Hawthorn House gets part of its unique impressiveness from the synergy of contradictions: the building is monolithic on the one hand, homely on the other, heavy in its design language and yet effortlessly light, closed and protected while completely open.
Located in the south-eastern part of Australia in Victoria, Hawthorn House serves a monumental dose of escapism, redefining the everyday routines and points-of-view: the inside space hidden inside the concrete husk forms a sheltered hideaway bathing in natural light, where you can enjoy nature and its tranquility in the middle of the suburbs.
The most powerful element of Hawthorn House's design language is probably its brutalist concrete frame. The concrete shell protecting the two separate pavilions provides as the building's primary support structure, yet the impression is quite different: the textured concrete husk seems surprisingly light, resting gently on top of the house like a curtain or cloak.
Like a concrete curtain that surrounds the windowless building, opening and closing, the shrouds define the way the interior spaces relate to each other and to the surrounding environment.
The repeated arc motif of the facade is a visually pleasing detail, adding surprising lightness to the heavy look of concrete, but it is also deeply functional.
Like a concrete curtain that surrounds the windowless building, opening and closing, the shrouds define the way the interior spaces relate to each other and to the surrounding environment: they provide intimacy and a sense of sanctuary to the bathrooms and bedrooms, and suggests an open dialogue between the living areas and the garden.
In this project, the entire site was perceived from a completely new starting point. The traditional front yard backyard division was scrapped so that the plot could be used in a more dynamic and inventive way – the starting point of the project was to bind the entire site and the buildings into a singular unit, where the interior and exterior spaces complement each other.
The starting point of the project was to bind the entire site and the buildings into a singular unit, where the interior and exterior spaces complement each other.
The lounge areas and kitchen located at ground level spill into into the lush view opening to the north, while the washrooms and bedrooms enjoy intimately demarcated secret gardens. The rooms on the upper floor are bathed in light filtered through the canopy of surrounding trees.
The balanced look of the interior comes from the charismatic combination of carefully considered materials. The union of heavily textured concrete, wood and curved glass surfaces is at the same time almost ascetically bare in its simplicity, and on the other hand, overwhelmingly sensual and inviting. The warm-toned wooden surfaces combine with the concrete surfaces in an effortless way, similar to the building itself connecting to its organic surroundings.
Wood and concrete, as well as untreated brass details such as balustrades and door handles, acquire a unique patina over the years, carrying quite literally the imprint of the residents – a tactile connection to the human body is exposed in the materials of the building in a charming, poetic way.
Get inspired by Hawthorn House
Text: Mira Ahola Images: Ben Hosking and Tom Ross