Rivergums House was designed to elicit a sense of simplicity and peace with a minimal modernist aesthetic that clears the mind and allows one to take in the serenity of a prime waterfront location.
Janita Norman, Lead Building Designer
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In 2018 we were approached to design a contemporary, practical home that contrasted dramatically with the client’s period-style Melbourne home. The client was looking for a home that was bright and airy, with courtyards and outdoor living spaces that connect to the natural beauty surrounding a gorgeous waterfront allotment.
“The home should be a sanctuary, with an emphasis on simplicity of flow and form.”
– Janita Norman, Lead Building Designer
As this home would not be lived in full-time, there was a priority set on minimising maintenance; the home should be able to be activated and shut down quickly when the owners are not in residence. Privacy from the street was also important, along with a clear view to the waterway at the rear.
A practical, minimalist design solution
Our approach to this home was to develop a streamlined design that prioritises function, flow and simple form through the use of an interesting layout and geometry.
Achieving north sun was vital when designing around the irregularly shaped allotment, and by using north-facing windows in the southerly positioned living space we were able to perfectly capture the northerly sun.
We created privacy and a deliberate sense of disconnection from the street by orienting the house to strengthen the geometry of the allotment. We created functional spaces around the house, maximising the view of the waterway at the rear, and utilising a concise palette of materials within the home to strengthen the feeling of simplicity.
Inside the home we utilised smart technology, a security system and irrigations systems that could be controlled and monitored remotely, allowing resources to be used efficiently and the house to be ‘shut down’ when the owners are away.
Inspired by modernism with a humanist perspective
This design is contemporary and deliberately simple, with strong form and minimal detail, taking inspiration from a modernist aesthetic. We embraced a minimalistic approach, placing importance on functionality, practicality and timelessness and strived for simplicity in this design, where form follows function.
This home is a sanctuary for both mind and body, inspiring us to design intuitively. A physical sanctuary was created by way of creating private space, and deliberately disconnecting the property from the street. A mental sanctuary was created through ‘’carefully designed simplicity’ designing uncomplicated spaces, with a gently monochromatic palette and abundant light and air, fostering a sense of peace.
Design, project management, coordination of consultants, plans & documentation, permits, interior design, landscape design, tendering, contract administration.