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THE COMPOUND HOUSE

> AUSTRALIA | MELBOURNE 2017

 
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Completed in 2017, The Compound is a unique house for some very unique clients. Featuring over 830 square metres of habitable area, The Compound is not for conservatives.

 
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The ground floor of the building is sunk a metre into the earth to ensure the two levels were possible within local planning laws. This act of submersion informs the fence along with the name of the house. A 130-metre precast concrete wall, designed to retain the earth in which it sits, creates the compound effect. The act of making a fence into a wall enables a seamless transition from inside to outside; the outside spaces actually become part of the building as external rooms. The Compound then shifts its attitude when it faces the street – pulling back, opening up, and offering a 9-metre ramp of native grasses to the streetscape.

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Ramping down the driveway leads to a six-car garage, the door of which remains tilted even when closed. Four of the client’s cars are on show at this point, while the other two descend into the basement theatre, remaining as backdrop objects of beauty and desire.

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The solid base of precast and in-situ concrete walls ground the building into the site. On top of these walls, six oversized steel trusses are precariously placed. Heroic and industrial, reminiscent of warehouses and bridges, these are not members of steel typical to suburbia. The stacking and engineered gymnastics celebrate steel, and metal generally, as materials of strength and beauty.

 
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Placed on top of the trusses, the first floor is a rectangular box. Its façade, 45-metres long, is veiled in a dynamic copper screen – a material of personal importance to the client. The screen, designed as a sun-shading device, is ever so slightly jittered to create random pattern and movement.

 
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