Gently Responsive – Vivarium House by Architecture Architecture
Thornbury, VIC, Australia

Photography Tom Ross
Words Bronwyn Marshall
Landscape Bush Projects

Gently inserting itself amongst a naturally occurring landscape setting, Vivarium House sits harmoniously within its context, embracing the natural. Architecture Architecture proposes a home of lasting resonance through a considered and textural approach, absorbing the existing conditions and respectfully composing a response.

Occupying a previously unused portion of land within an existing allotment, Vivarium House sits as an expansion of the original cottage home in Thornbury, forming its own vernacular in the process. As much as the architecture responds to the existing and the surrounds, the careful integration of a sensitive landscape proposition ensures the enveloping of the built form feels deliberate and long standing. As a respectful addition to the site and to the native landscape, the proposal seeks to add amenity through a lens of restraint, without taking away from what lay before. Architecture Architecture emphasises the living elements of the site as priority, while creating a timber-clad form that ribbons across the landscape, inviting the natural to live harmoniously with the built.

Extruding backward behind the existing, a glazed corridor expresses the connection between old and new, with invited glimpses of the natural transforming the interior experience of the home.

Built by Bresnan and Smith, together with carefully integrated landscape design by Bush Projects as a core element of the design, Vivarium House is intended to holistically become core part of the garden. Despite its disguised appearance from approach, the additional form ensures the existing cottage is expanded to become a generous and modern three-bedroom residence with openly connected living, dining and kitchen spaces. Extruding backward behind the existing, a glazed corridor expresses the connection between old and new, with invited glimpses of the natural transforming the interior experience of the home. With the priority for the site to be the celebration of the landscape, the introduced elements focus on minimising the built, with maximum impact and connection.

Taking cues from the surrounds, the addition uses gentle curves to navigate the threshold between the more formal, rigid existing and the garden. The central courtyard brings light and a living feature to the heart of the home, ensuring the changing of climatic conditions throughout the year will animate the interior. Conscious not just in its form and its coexistence with the nature, Vivarium House is an introspective home, with sustainability at its core. Integrated systems ensure thermal comfort is controlled and captured naturally, with materiality and use of energy coming from site, minimising costs and ensuring the building performs.

The central courtyard brings light and a living feature to the heart of the home, ensuring the changing of climatic conditions throughout the year will animate the home.

Sitting as an embrace of its garden while feeling immersed within it, Vivarium House is intended to change and reflect the seasons. The ensuing dynamism sees Architecture Architecture’s intention for a living building come into fruition.

Vivarium House By Architecture Architecture Project Feature The Local Project Image 02
Published 1 November, 2021
Photography  Tom Ross
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