Taking Shelter– The Blockhouse by Ha Architects
Collingwood, VIC, Australia

Photography Derek Swalwell
Architecture Ha Architects
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Providing privacy and a place of refuge, The Blockhouse is a heavily weighted anchor to its site that is softened through the incorporation of botanical elements. Ha Architects combines the industrial with the residentialto reimagine the contemporary vernacular.

As a home in a previously industrial area, The Blockhouse responds to both its present context and the remaining relics of its former occupation and proposes a design that acknowledges both past and present. Looking to the shelter structures utilised during rocket launches as an appropriate namesake and source of inspiration, the resulting form inherits many of the protective, robust and unshakable qualities of its muse. Ha Architecture combines a nod to the area’s heritage together with a contextually appropriate relevance to create a sanctuary from the roar of the traffic on Hoddle Street, one of Melbourne’s busiest roads.

As a home in a previously industrial area, The Blockhouse responds to both its present context and the remaining relics of its former occupation and proposes a design that acknowledges both past and present.

Harder materiality is embraced for its appearance and performance and softened through the curation of landscaped botanical elements.

Located in Melbourne’s inner north, The Blockhouse is set in the rapidly transforming suburb of Collingwood. Dotted with numerous reminders of the past, preserved historical red brick, saw-toothed factories stand side by side with stately homes and more humble workers cottages and it is the preservation of the area’s narrative that plays an important role in creating an identity for this house. Comprised of three bedrooms and a guest retreat, the home sits neatly and efficiently on the site that is only 9m wide.Driven by a requirement to allow for two off-street carparks, the resulting planning separates the floor into two distinct volumes.

Looking to conjure a home that speaks both to an industrious nature while also being a welcoming and private abode, harder materiality is embraced for its appearance and performance and softened through the curation of landscaped botanical elements. Clad in dark and mood-evoking industrial finishes, the interior is comfortably ensconced within its concrete outer shell. With exposed polished concrete flooring, steel accents and a generally deeply muted palette, the feel created is one of warmth and protection. Texture is used to create variation and hint at movement in the finishes instead of introducing additional colour, and the resulting monochromatic approach creates a soothing sanctuary.

Looking to the shelter structures utilised during rocket launches as an appropriate namesake and source of inspiration, the resulting form inherits many of the protective, robust and unshakable qualities of its muse.

As a home in a previously industrial area, The Blockhouse takes inspiration from its present context and the remaining relics of its former occupation.

The Blockhouse combines a considered rigour with an appropriateness of scale, materiality and form. Ha Architecture has brought the dialogue of the area’s past into the present, creating a protective shelter.

Ha Architecture combines a nod to the area’s heritage together with a contextually appropriate relevance to create a sanctuary from the roar of the traffic on Hoddle Street, one of Melbourne’s busiest roads.

Texture is used to create variation and hint at movement in the finishes instead of introducing additional colour.
The resulting monochromatic approach creates a soothing sanctuary.
Published 1 September, 2020
Photography  Derek Swalwell
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