1980s Modernism Reinvigorated – Back to the Future House by Doherty Design Studio
Malvern, VIC, Australia

Photography Derek Swalwell
Interior Design Doherty Design Studio
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Originally designed by Peter McIntyre in the 1980s, Doherty Design Studio reinvigorates Back to the Future through understanding of context and the home’s modernist influences, combined with an appreciation of bold, expressive colour.

Set in the leafy inner-eastern Melbourne suburb of Malvern, Back to the Future House is reenergised and emboldened through extensive re-planning and the expansion of its previous volume. Doherty Design Studio’s expressive touch is felt in the injections of colour and use of form and materiality. Grounded by an appreciation of context, the confidence with which the project is imbued breathes new life into the home.

Grounded by an appreciation of context, the confidence with which the project is imbued breathes new life into the home.

Built by North Building Group, with landscapes by Ben Scott Landscape Design, Doherty Design Studio worked in collaboration with building designer Ari Alexander Design Group to reimagine the home. Originally designed by Peter McIntyre in the 1980s, the home has several key formal and architectural elements that were retained and expressed. Occupying just over half of its 880 square-metre site, the envelope of the original home remains. The expression and celebration of the metal work and the expansive triangular atrium as a central feature (also visible from various rooms) become the focal elements.

Set in the leafy inner-eastern Melbourne suburb of Malvern, Back to the Future House is reenergised and emboldened through extensive re-planning and the expansion of its previous volume.

Important to the reworking were the staircase, kitchen and new garage. Through the filling in of the two west-facing balconies, additional passive sleeping spaces and bathrooms were created. The extension to the rear and additional cladding to the garage create two additional bedrooms and, together with extensive work in the rear garden, connects the interior and exterior as an extension of one another. The orientation of the extension was imagined to create a connection to the surrounding parklands and open up the home, while also providing a sense of privacy and enclosure within.

The combination of hand-made ceramic tiles, reflective surfaces, textiles, oversized terrazzo and natural stone all express and extend the ethos of playfulness throughout the home.

Interpreting modernism, with Palm Springs as a particular influence, the home’s boldness is emphasised by the contrasted colours and textures present. The expression of the metalwork sees a repeated pattern rolled out, offering a dance of shadows as the sun engages with the structure throughout the day, while also connecting to the original design features. The combination of hand-made ceramic tiles, reflective surfaces, textiles, oversized terrazzo and natural stone all express and extend the project’s ethos of playfulness and confidence.

Doherty Design Studio’s expressive touch is felt in the injections of colour and use of form and materiality.

Back to the Future House is a study in expansion and appropriation. Doherty Design Studio brings a fresh contemporary relevance and above all, a lively, dynamic energy to the home.

Doherty Design Studio brings a fresh contemporary relevance and above all, a lively, dynamic energy to the home.

1980s Modernism Reinvigorated Back To The Future House By Doherty Design Studio Malvern Vic Australia Image 21
Published 6 May, 2020
Photography  Derek Swalwell
Building Designer:   Ari Alexander
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