Introspective and Independent – Limestone House by John Wardle Architects
Toorak, VIC, Australia
Self-sufficient and introspective, Limestone House is conceived from a place of quiet independence. John Wardle Architects works closely with an engaged client to propose a home that generates, captures and provides for itself, while beautifully addressing the streetscape as its own living sculpture.
Sitting as a sculptural statement in its Toorak milieu, Limestone House is carved from its namesake material. A scalloped motion sculpts the façade, while openings offer a glimpse to the happenings within. The home sits as its own unique entity amongst its heritage neighbours, defining itself as a considered and introspective home. The owners wanted to live in a high-performing building, and this inspired the utilisation of the best available technology for gathering and harnessing the energy needed within, reducing the home’s energy footprint and reliance on outside sources. John Wardle Architects combines contrasting restraint and detailed warmth internally to create a home of deceptive self-reliance.
Key to the experience of the home is the connection between the built and the natural, ensuring the openings that connect the two are considered became a driving principle of the design.
Encased in exaggerated proportions of limestone sheeting, the interior connects to the familiar through the expansive use of timber and opens to a central courtyard as the heart of the home. Key to the experience of the home is the connection between the built and the natural, ensuring the openings that connect the two are considered became a driving principle of the design. The inner courtyard brings natural light deep into the home, illuminating and bringing in natural ventilation at the same time. The outer low-level windows are deliberately reduced in size to allow and control privacy, while the upper-level windows open to the north and connect with the tree canopies and sky.
Built by Sinjen Group, Limestone House coalesces around a literal centre of calm. While the façade provides a protective shell, the inner volumes are meant to feel disconnected and as an escape from the urban density. Both physically and conceptually, the home is imagined as an escape, and one that leans towards its own core, reliant on itself only. A controlled palette of glass, timber and stone all help accentuate that feeling of calm and focus on the connection to the lush landscape that surrounds the home. The integration of systems that further encourage that comfort and disconnect then bring all of the principles together, as the home is equipped with its own mechanical heat recovery ventilation system, high thermal mass, an airtight outer shell, off-grid energy capture, and waste and water management.
A controlled palette of glass, timber and stone all help accentuate that feeling of calm and focus on the connection to the lush landscape that surrounds the home.
John Wardle Architects’ Limestone House shows an evolution of the anticipated self-reliant home. The result is an exemplar of how sustainable design principles and technology can be integrated with considered, sculptural design to better propose the future of the residential vernacular.