Cocooning Calm – Envelop House by mcmahon and nerlich architects
Through a softening of both the heritage elements and the proposed new insertions, Envelop House embodies a consistent calm. mcmahon and nerlich architects combines a unique approach with the unexpected, enlivening the senses in the process.
Located in Middle Park to the south of Melbourne, Envelop House builds upon its existing heritage home stylings and expands to the rear, expressing new linework through curved motions. The project is underpinned by a shared sense of calm and stillness; the combination of natural materials and a light palette creates a sense of retreat from the street, taking occupants on a journey as they enter the house. Hinting also to the nearby coast, the fluidity of the lines connects to the flowing motion of the waves while remaining abstract enough that the reference feels removed. A monochromatic base is instilled by mcmahon and nerlich architects to bind the old and new together, creating a series of warm and enveloping spaces.
The revised planning, orientation and connection between zones within the structure ensures solar control and ventilation opportunities are maximised for optimal comfort throughout the year. The insertion of an open internal courtyard both brings the natural into the centre while allowing the home to breathe. Internally, curved lines soften the transition between spaces; curved joinery edges make elements feel sculptural while connecting to the courtyard space and its curved soffit. The same organic language carries through to the lighting fixtures and furniture, ensuring the approach feels holistic and shared.
Maintaining the lofted ceilings from the original portion of the home reinforces a sense of continuity and connects the old to the new. While clear and uninterrupted internal movement was key, transitions between inside and out allows the façade to fold and fall away. Timber combines with white plaster finishes to further emphasis a light and calming feeling throughout, emphasising scale in the process. Slightly warmer grey tones then encase the bathroom spaces and make the experience feel more intimate. The overall palette is further lightened through interacting with natural light, animating the home throughout the day and across the seasons.
The insertion of an open internal courtyard both brings the natural into the centre while allowing the home to breathe.
Envelop House does as its name suggests – it provides a safe harbour for its owners, as mcmahon and nerlich architects extends on from the rich character origins of the structure.