An Entertainer’s Home – Courtyard House by K.P.D.O.
Fitzroy, VIC, Australia
Imagined as a place to both dwell and entertain, Courtyard House centres around its prized outdoor space and encourages a natural movement beyond the building edge. K.P.D.O. takes a non-traditional approach to respond acutely to the current clients and how they inhabit their home, instead of projecting future value and letting that dictate the outcome.
Many homes are designed as retreat spaces for quiet contemplation and a disconnect from the exterior surrounding world, Courtyard House, however, is no such home. Instead, it is a series of zones founded on principles that bring people together and encourage a heightened sense of liveliness and animation, while also being a comfortable place to reside for its clients. Located in the dense urban fabric of Fitzroy in Melbourne’s inner north, the resulting home takes formal and material cues from its neighbours, reimagining what it is that makes a home by celebrating connection. With the clients being avid entertainers, the resulting spaces needed to allow for a freedom of movement internally, and the deliberate alignment with such valuable outdoor space was key to the flexibility of function. K.P.D.O. combines a considered rigour in articulating a unique dwelling with an openness centred on and inspired by assembly.
As avid entertainers, the resulting spaces needed to allow for a freedom of movement internally, and the deliberate alignment with such valuable outdoor space was key to the flexibility of function.
Built by Macrobuild, Courtyard House defies the traditional design-build model by paving and following its own path. Traditionally, maximising future growth of the value of a property becomes a key driving factor in determining the present planning and outlay on site, resulting in a design that responds to an imagined client rather than the current inhabitants. In designing for the now, Courtyard House takes on a more present-focused approach, conceiving the home as a place that brings people together. The orientation of openings and the arrangement of elements around the central namesake courtyard generates both visual relationships internally, while also creating a private enclave and its own private outdoor room in the process.
Originally a vacant allotment used for parking and garage facilities, there was no need to demolish or repurpose any existing elements. Instead, the approach takes contextual cues from its neighbours. Adjoining an existing art deco-era army barracks, the new structure references the old in the use of brickwork and the controlled and linear approach. Each room is connected to the courtyard in some way, and a sense of scale is expressed through the same visual connections. By expressing materiality and its honesty, a textural home of contrast emerges, creating diversity and interest, while being robust enough to cater for the entertainer’s brief.
The orientation of openings and the arrangement of elements around the central namesake courtyard generates both visual relationships internally, while also creating a private enclave and its own private outdoor room in the process.
Courtyard house allows for the senses to be engaged through the alleviation of the traditional and formally segregated approach, and through a considered curation of its many parts, K.P.D.O. has created an unexpected and engaging home.