A Contemporary Insertion – Xavier Avenue by Bryant Alsop Architects

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Photography by Emily Bartlett
Interior Design by Bryant Alsop Architects
Landscape by Peachy Green

Xavier Street is inserted amongst its richly residential context as an expressive threshold between public and private. Bryant Alsop Architects draws on the surrounding silhouettes to propose a home of lasting relevance that has its own unique identity ingrained through a contemporary crispness.

Nestled into Hawthorn in Melbourne, the new home is a refreshing addition amongst its established neighbourhood of generous allotments and character homes. In its newness, the formal approach respects the existing formality and scale of the surrounding homes, expressed through a reciprocal pitched gable roof to the upper level. Sitting at the end of a street, certain decisions offer a point of difference between its approach and the surrounding homes. Most evident is the lack of formal boundary traditionally seen in the area, allowing the home to engage more directly with the streetscape and dissolving the barrier between inside and outside. The home then becomes a gateway of sorts between the public and the private, with Bryant Alsop Architects emphasising approachability and connection.

There is a freshness ingrained within the home, and through the use of timber, painted plaster and stone, the everyday is elevated.

Xavier Street was built by Eastwood Building Co. with landscape design by Peachy Green as a holistic reworking of the entire site. Instead of marking the front of a home with a traditional porch arrangement, the overall form folds more gently in on itself to encourage and hint at movement inward. The rich warmth of the timber entrance door becomes the first engagement with texture as a prelude to the interior. Although warm underfoot, and in some cases overhead also, the home feels light and bright in matching with its exterior façade offering.

Spread over two levels, the vertical delineation allows for dedicated passive and active zones, allowing them to sit separately from one another. On the lower level, the shared living, kitchen and dining spaces all convene and open generously to the landscaped garden. The separation also allows the adults to have their own retreat space on the lower level, also connected to the garden. The upper level then sees the children’s areas arranged accordingly, with shared amenities as their own escape. While a base of time-wearing materials is used throughout, colour then adds an element of animation throughout the home, softening the otherwise hard volumes.

On the lower level, the shared living, kitchen and dining spaces all convene and open generously to the landscaped garden.

Light filled and inviting, through Xavier Ave Bryant Alsop Architects aims to re-sculpt the traditional family home as a place of nurture and belonging while being adaptable to the changing needs of a family over time.