Exploring Heritage Through Built Form – Hellenic Homecoming by Maria Danos Architecture
By delving into the cultural roots of Hellenic Homecoming, Maria Danos Architecture draws inspiration from Greek architectural influences through a contemporary and crafted approach. The architect utilises a blend of nostalgic, locally sourced interior design elements and materials, including Laminex, to create a dwelling that transcends geographical boundaries and evokes a sense of connection.
The project proved to be a rewarding collaboration between the client and architect, both of whom shared a cultural heritage expressed through the chosen colours and textures reminiscent of Greece. Maria Danos, principal at Maria Danos Architecture, says, “it was a very personal project for me, almost too self-indulgent, as it allowed me to explore notions of my own Hellenic identity and to express that through built form.”
Nestled in Melbourne’s Oakleigh, a neighbourhood with a substantial Greek population, Hellenic Homecoming speaks to the growing ageing demographic in the area. The project delves into intricate detailing and material selection suitable for a multigenerational dwelling. Leveraging these nostalgic elements, Maria Danos Architecture transforms a former Arts and Crafts house, along with a 1990s extension, into a home catering to multiple generations.
The interior design has undergone a transformation through colour and texture. Thalassic hues complement Greek-sourced Elba stone and fluted profiles, referencing antiquity. These elements are harmonised with cool natural stones and a base of muted timber flooring. “Using soft, muted shades of blue permeating throughout the home helped introduce Hellenic themes of sky meeting sea, while elsewhere, warm whites were used to create a dreamlike sequence,” says Maria.
Hellenic Homecoming is a home that features strong, resilient materials that tell a story. “We specified Laminex for its robust performance, sensory tactile considerations, sustainability credentials and the fact that it is locally made in Australia,” says Maria. Laminex was also chosen due to its versatility. “The Laminex AbsoluteMatte range was perfect for this project. In the French Navy, there is a richness in the colour of that Velour finish… that sits perfectly against the rusticated stone finishes.”
Specifically, the kitchen has been converted from a dim area into a bright, vibrant centrepiece of the home through the use of Laminex. “The kitchen is a carefully orchestrated composition of three laminate colours, along with the stone finishes and blue finger gloss tiles, which are viewed as an elegant backdrop from the living room area,” says Maria.
The residence is designed for optimal functionality, ensuring that older occupants can navigate the home with ease and move around safely. This is achieved through the use of tactile linings, routed panels for joinery and wall treatments, split-faced stones and planned colour strategies that serve as sensory indicators.
This dwelling not only reflects personal and cultural narratives but also seamlessly integrates with broader Australian interior design elements, furniture and First Nations artwork. As Maria Danos Architecture creates an ever-expanding legacy, Hellenic Homecoming becomes more than a residence – it becomes a living testament to the intersection of culture, identity and architectural artistry.