Remolding the Traditional Australian Home - Triangle House by Molecule Studio
Project Feature
Toorak, VIC, Australia

Words Browyn Marshall
Photography Derek Swalwell
Beautiful Australian Architecture & Design

The Triangle House by Molecule Studio. Photography by Derek Swalwell. Styling by Beck Simons.

The Triangle House by Molecule Studio remolds the traditional home. Heavily influenced by smaller-footprint living, Triangle House is the result of optimising a complex site through an opportunistic lens, rethinking the residential footprint.

Designed for a family of five, the Triangle House sits atop a block of matching geometry. The client’s want for a ‘beach house’ aesthetic within the urban context led to an interpretation that creates relevance in this Toorak-based location. Molecule Studios’ Anja de Spa says “we had an atmospheric design brief to create a home that felt connected to nature, both physcially and through maximising the garden and landscape at the ground level and atmospherically in the use of natural materials and tonal colours”. The resulting full integration of landscape, architecture and planning as one cohensive breathing element was key to the striking design’s success.

Triangle House Is The Result Of Optimising A Complex Site Through An Opportunistic Lens

The contemporary interiors epitomise Molecule Studio's reimagining of a traditional family home.

Rethinking The Residential Footprint

Designed for a family of five, the Triangle House by Molecule Studio sits atop a block of matching geometry.

Both Physcially And Through Maximising The Garden And Landscape At The Ground Level And Atmospherically

The full integration of landscape, architecture and planning as one cohensive breathing element was key to the striking design’s success.

We Had An Atmospheric Design Brief To Create A Home That Felt Connected To Nature

Cleverly designed storage areas overcome the challenges of designing within a constrained space. Photography by Derek Swalwell. Styling by Beck Simons.

Completed in 2017, sprawling over seven levels with a project size of 175 square meters, the Triangle House is a “unique and small footprint for its growing family”, says Anja. The one connecting element combining and almost anchoring all of the compromised formal elements, is the use of timber, which creates both a robust external materiality and a strong connection to landscape. Mirroring the site it sits upon, and seen to “almost float on the recessive ground floor mass”, the formal response to the site (formally a Victorian weatherboard cottage, that the clients lived in for five years prior to construction) embodies “a similar relaxed spirit and connectiving to the outdoors that the clients experience at their beach house at Phillip Island” and wanted to imbue here.

Creates Relevance In This Toorak Based Location

“The Triangle House features a unique and small footprint for its growing family”.

Heavily Influenced By Smaller Footprint Living

Molecule Studio worked closely with the clients throughout the design process. Photography by Derek Swalwell. Styling by Beck Simons.

On a corner alotment, the 200 square meter site presented a number of complications. Anja explains “a 100 year old, 2 meter diameter underground brick drain along the adjacent boundary, a flood overlay requiring the dewlling to be lifted 1-1.5m above natural ground level, high voltage overhead powerlines, 3 meters of soft fill underneath and large neighbouring eucalytus trees” were all none without their added issues. Full of ‘awkward corners’, what this project does represent, however, is the opportunities that can exist within any site. “The high voltage overhead powerlines to the front street boundary required that the building envelope was set back 4 meters. This enabled us to create the main outdoor space as a front yard condition where the outdoor deck and the swimming pool sit alongside one each other and together make a more generous impression of space”, Anja says.

The Client’s Want For A ‘beach House’ Aesthetic Within The Urban Context

Full of ‘awkward corners’, what this project does represent, however, is the opportunities that can exist within any site.

Designed For A Family Of Five, The Triangle House Sits Atop A Block Of Matching Geometry

The dining room and kitchen spaces are designed to perfectly accommodate the family of 5. Photography by Derek Swalwell. Styling by Beck Simons.

Although fraught with restrictions and limitations, Anja says “we responded by zoning the uses across the two levels of the home, (where) the ground floor is an active family zone, and the upstairs is configured as a series of contained rooms for retreat and sleep”. She further explains, “we maintained a rational orthogonal approach to the planning which minimised the awkward corners”. As the size of the domestic home continues to reduce, it is these cross-pollinations of function and form that find creative solutions to challenging conditions.

The Triangle House By Molecule Studio Remolds The Traditional Home.
The One Connecting Element Combining And Almost Anchoring All Of The Compromised Formal Elements (2)

“We responded by zoning the uses across the two levels of the home, (where) the ground floor is an active family zone, and the upstairs is configured as a series of contained rooms for retreat and sleep”.

Formally A Victorian Weatherboard Cottage, That The Clients Lived In For Five Years Prior To Construction

Photography by Derek Swalwell. Styling by Beck Simons.

Molecule Studio is seeing “requests for small footprint living to maximise garden space” as common themes from their clients. “Our clients are interested in using the space in their homes more efficiently and effectively – better not bigger spaces, where storage is a perennial request”. Their approach is to “work in a holistic manner which unites architecture, interior design and landscape” with a large emphasis on working closely with clients “to understand the way that they live and the ways that the architecture can support that”, Anja reflects.

A Similar Relaxed Spirit And Connectiving To The Outdoors That The Clients Experience At Their Beach House At Phillip Island

“Our clients are interested in using the space in their homes more efficiently and effectively – better not bigger spaces, where storage is a perennial request”.

Completed In 2017, Sprawling Over Seven Levels With A Project Size Of 175 Square Meters

Natural timber elements are commonplace throughout the interiors and exteriors of the Triangle House. Photography by Derek Swalwell. Styling by Beck Simons.

Molecule Studios’ approach to smaller-footprint living is “to maximise the use of each space through adaptable design, and creating multi-use spaces – dining at a kitchen island or using a study as a sometime guest bedroom”. Their understanding of other sensory engagement elements is also key; “lighting also plays an important role to transform the mood of a space”, Anja says, allowing timing to play a role in the diversity of function within the family home.

“Molecule Studio work in a holistic manner which unites architecture, interior design and landscape”.

Emphasising that their work centers on “creating a home, not a house”, there is definitely a shift in the contemporary approach Molecule Studio has with respect to understanding site in a broader masterplanning context. With growing urban sprawl and shrinking sites, Triangle House is a clever approach to overcoming the complex planning hurdles, while still creating a place of relaxed retreat for the family.

The Resulting Full Integration Of Landscape, Architecture And Planning As One Cohensive Breathing Element Was Key To The Striking De
Local Melbourne Modern Home And House Inspiration

Triangle House by Molecule Studio is a clever approach to overcoming the complex planning hurdles, while still creating a place of relaxed retreat for the family.

Published: 25 March, 2019

Photography Credit:  Derek Swalwell
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