Playfully Crafted – Merri Creek House by WOWOWA
Fitzroy, VIC, Australia

Photography Shannon McGrath
Architecture WOWOWA
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Referencing the curved brickwork and Art Deco stylings of its neighbours, Merri Creek House takes inspiration from its context. Emerging as own monumental turrets on site, WOWOWA conjures a home that combines craft, character and an inherent playfulness.

Nestled into the eclectic streetscapes of Fitzroy North, donned with Victorian cottages and terraces, Art Deco and more modern interpretations, Merri Creek House is a nod to the character of the area. Its neighbouring Deco homes feature curved geometries, expressing their comprising brick structures as highly crafted entities. Taking inspiration from its context and artful expressive period, WOWOWA proposes a home of matched playfulness and whimsy, where brick turrets and rounded concave walls come together with purpose. The result sees a monumental structure emerge on site, creating a strong sense of identity, expressed with confidence.

Nestled into the eclectic streetscapes of Fitzroy North, donned with Victorian cottages and terraces, Art Deco and more modern interpretations, Merri Creek House is a nod to the character of the area.

The result sees a monumental structure emerge on site, creating a strong sense of identity, expressed with confidence.

Located near Merri Creek proper, the site sits within a familiar residential setting, enviably surrounded by bushlands to the rear, offering a unique and immersive connection to nature so close to the CBD. From a shared fascination of tall brick water structures and rural farm relics, both the architect and client wanted to combine this formal historical connection to the resulting home. Standing tall and untouchable, these totems stand to represent an unshakable robustness and this philosophy of strength and shelter was also a major influence in the resulting materiality.

Comprised of two whole turrets and one deconstructed form, the home is divided into three parts, one at the front and two at the rear of the site, that reduce in scale as they engage with the more natural bushland setting. The front form encases a gathering family space at ground level and a reclusive study area above, while the middle area houses the vertical circulation and becomes the ideal position for dining. To the rear, the third form breaks away and opens up to the private garden, while a concave brick and curved glass window wall carve out a private courtyard and create a point of geometric interest and outward facing vista from within. The use of warm and rich amber and pumpkin tones further reinforces the structural brickwork and celebrates it as an important building block within our residential settings. Timber is used to warm the spaces, and pops of colour signal differing functions.

Its neighbouring Deco homes feature curved geometries, expressing their comprising brick structures as highly crafted entities.

The use of warm and rich amber and pumpkin tones further reinforces the structural brickwork and celebrates it as an important building block within our residential settings.

Throughout, both internally and externally, there are deliberate moments of playful and unexpected engagement with the building form and its curious comprising parts. Merri Creek House is both spirited and protective, as much as it is a showcase of craft and the expression of the home as a monument. WOWOWA combines a familiar Australian engagement with colour and materiality, while cleverly offering a suitable addition to its heritage neighboured streetscape.

Published 1 May, 2020
Photography  Shannon McGrath
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