A Dialogue About Balance – Perfect-Imperfect House by Megowan Architectural
Fitzroy, VIC, Australia

Photography Nils Koenning
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Contrasting old and new, accepting the imperfect with the perfect, the Perfect Imperfect House is the result of a dialogue about balance. Megowan Architectural brings a considered rationalisation to the project through refined details and raw, natural materiality.

Perfect Imperfect House sits nestled into the diverse and complex urban fabric that is Fitzroy North. Having lived in the property for two decades, and having raised their children in the home, the clients had an understandable affection for the area, and a connection to the local community. Born from the client’s desire to continue residing in the same location, a dialogue of balance began. Megowan Architectural offered a rationalism to the design process, tempering perfectionism with acceptance of the home’s history. The result is one of refined details and a mixed fusion of raw and natural materiality.

Megowan Architectural brings a considered rationalisation to the project through refined details and raw, natural materiality.

Retaining the existing shopfront became a key connecting element to the suburb’s history and repurposing the demolished brickwork to become the new boundary walls maintained a link to the home’s previous life.

Built by Grundella, Perfect Imperfect House confronted the typical scenario of idealism encountering the gamut of complexity and compromise that inevitably ensues along the way. Sitting behind its original shopfront façade, the house was previously single storey dwelling that was unfortunately overshadowed by its neighbours – a two-and-a- half storey terrace house and a block of apartments. Clad in the weatherboards typical of its time, the small, drafty and light-deficient home needed an awakening. Retaining the existing shopfront became a key connecting element to the suburb’s history and repurposing the demolished brickwork to become the new boundary walls maintained a link to the home’s previous life.

Built by Grundella, Perfect Imperfect House confronted the typical scenario of idealism encountering the gamut of complexity and compromise that inevitably ensues along the way.

Perfect-Imperfect House by Megowan Architectural sees a considered rationalism brought together through refined details and raw and natural materiality.

Bringing the new elements of the home and extension together are feature black charred timber battens, which the clients themselves torched, creating a calming counter element to the original features of the façade and its detail. Through this approach, a hierarchy is created. Setting the tone for the upper floor as an added mass, the battens offer nuanced imperfections, created through the charring process, expressing the natural vulnerability of the material.

Setting the tone for the upper floor as an added mass, the battens offer nuanced imperfections, created through the charring process, expressing the natural vulnerability of the material.

Externally, the combination of original masonry is balanced with the charred timber, and internally the composition of white marble against Australian blackbutt and ebonised oak continue the story of balance.

The darkened battens allow for the original silhouette to be expressed and create a monolithic feel to the rear, where a central courtyard is carved into the home’s mass volume to allow natural light into each of the living zones. Comprised of contrasting elements, it is the alignment of the raw and natural sitting next to one another that each allows the other to shine. Externally, the combination of original masonry is balanced with the charred timber, and internally the composition of white marble against Australian blackbutt and ebonised oak continue the story of balance.

The darkened battens allow for the original silhouette to be expressed and create a monolithic feel to the rear, where a central courtyard is carved into the home’s mass volume to allow natural light into each of the living zones.

Perfect Imperfect House is an expression of its owners, and a representation of their own unique story with their home and neighbourhood. Becoming the conduit to bring the love for the area and the history of the existing home together with a contemporary, realistic and functional brief, Megowan Architectural resolves the perfect and the imperfect into one unified response.

Published 2 March, 2020
Photography  Nils Koenning
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