Slate Tile Patterns Define This Australian House

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Charles House, a new addition to Melbourne’s upscale suburb of Kew, uses a variety of slate tile patterns to define the different volumes that accommodate a multi-generational family.

Kew, an upscale neighbourhood on the outskirts of Melbourne, is a bit of an architectural mishmash – an array of “McMansions and mock Georgian townhouses,” as local architect Andrew Maynard describes it. But there are also several historic homes in the nabe – including century-old Edwardian, Federation and Victorian homes – and it was these Maynard chose to respond to when tasked with building a new home in the area.

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Maynard’s clients were in search of a design that could accommodate their growing family’s long-term needs – a place to call home for at least the next quarter-century. It would need to be not only a place for their children to grow up, but also a place where their aging parents might comfortably come to live in a few years’ time.

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The exterior character of the building, dubbed Charles, was somewhat predetermined; the site required the use of stone cladding – no modern material interventions amidst a sea of brick, stone and tile. Inspired by the lichen-covered slate roofs on some of the heritage homes in the area, Maynard chose dark shale tiles for the main facade material. In a contemporary twist, it appears in an unusual variety of patterns that define each of the volumes that make up the house. In alternating square, rectangular, diamond and fish-scale patterns, these tiles demarcate the division of interior space from the outside, and even dip into the interior, in the passageways between volumes, including indoor/outdoor stairways, bridges and glass-walled hallways.

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The house’s individual volumes offer plenty of shared and private space for the multi-generational residents, with these connecting features acting as a buffer between, for instance, the granny suite and the children’s rooms. The indoor/outdoor nature of these interstitial spaces also helps bring light into the interiors, as do the floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to extend the living space into the yard.

Be sure to check out Azure‘s June issue for more projects with awe-inspiring facades, as well as the latest in cladding products. 

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