Hewn From The Earth – Cornerstone House by Splinter Society
Northcote, VIC, Australia
Inspired by the site and the earth the home sits upon, The Cornerstone House references the quarries that originally occupied the area. Splinter Society combines contrasts, embedding a sense of robustness together with a refinement and detailing to capture the layered and storied history of the site.
As a counterpoint to the robust approach, and to fittingly assimilate amongst its neighbours and established streetscape, The Cornerstone House becomes its own play on contrasts. While Splinter Society references the history of the area as the site of many stone quarries, there is an embedded understanding that the resulting response to site should also be respectful to its current surroundings. Through an expression of the hard and rugged masonry past of the area, a combined approach of robust materiality and an element of refinement come together. The layered history of the site, and its storied past, is expressed through these contrasts and the approach and application of materiality and form.
As a counterpoint to the robust approach, and to fittingly assimilate amongst its neighbours and established streetscape, The Cornerstone House becomes its own play on contrasts.
Fittingly named, the inception of this reference is to the dozen physical cornerstones that are placed throughout the site. Emerging as rough and uncut boulders, they stand as untouched elements quarried from the earth. Their presence is both a reminder and a reference point from which the rest of the home pivots. Once craned onto site, the construction and built form is generated around the stones, further emphasising their significance as anchor points to the design. They stand to act as partitions, flooring, joinery, landscaping and furniture elements and express their industrious past, with markings left raw, celebrating the process and past that led them to becoming part of this home.
The layered history of the site, and its storied past, is expressed through these contrasts and the approach and application of materiality and form.
Adding both a sense of relief and also a layer of contrast, architectural elements of refined steel glazing and split-face stone all aim to balance the rougher and more robust components. With styling by Swee Design, the home is spread over two levels, the same bold and dark palette is carried from the exterior, extending the black steel fins that clad the volume inward. The added layering of warm timber, notes of colour through furniture and metal tactile details, all contribute to the complexity on site. The linear and architectural approach to lighting, both natural and decorative, afford the home lighting which emphasis volumes internally.
Splinter Society brings the studio’s inquisitive and experimental approach in responding to this site’s interesting and layered context. The Cornerstone House expresses its past, quite literally extracting inspiration from it. With the integration of architectural articulation as an extension of these bold gestures, a contemporary sense of refinement is created.