Reimagining Terrace House Living - Kunstkammer by Atelier Wagner Architects
The Rogerseller Series
Prahran, VIC, Australia
The Local Project presents, in collaboration with Rogerseller, an exploration of the Kunstkammer residence by Atelier Wagner Architects, an inner-city Melbourne home that reimagines terrace house living.
Speaking of the approach Atelier Wagner take in their work, Jacqueline Wagner says “we’re not so interested in style, we’re more interested in the experiential quality of how you live and inhabit space”. She continues, “we’re designing for people rather than an edifice, so it’s a people-focused, people-based design thinking”.
This is felt throughout the Kunstkammer residence, which as a terrace house offered only a modest footprint in which to work. Atelier Wagner structured the design as two volumes to the front and back of the site, with a central courtyard that brings light deep within the space. “We’ve tackled the most pressing problem of any terrace house – how to get daylight into it – and how to actually make it feel like a series of spaces that are actually engaging with outside”, reflects David Wagner.
The design of the kitchen and bathrooms was key to ensuring the architects could fit everything required into the terrace house efficiently without sacrificing functionality or amenity. “We’re quite proud of the fact that we’ve got so much into the property, that’s probably the underlying theme of the project”, says David. “By necessity, it required some really rigorous thinking, and our client was very, very interested in every single detail”, Jacqueline adds.
“The client was very familiar with Valcucine, he has a particular love of designer fixtures and fittings and European design,” says Rogerseller Kitchen Designer Michelle Stirling. The terrace typology informed the kitchen design – “we had to be very clever with storage solutions”, Michelle explains. The Valcucine New Logica system from Rogerseller conceals the kitchen, and “the capacity to have something that was much more than first appears is beautifully in line with the design of the house”, David says.
Jacqueline describes it as a surprising ‘magic box’ that “when you open it up, it comes alive”. This description captures the idea of the ‘kunstkammer’ or ‘cabinet of curiosities’, a term that refers to notable collections of objects developed from the sixteenth-century onwards in Europe. This combination of joy and functionality is the result of a high degree of refinement in the design, which is felt too in the architecture of the Kunstkammer residence.
“There’s been lots of little iterations and alterations in terms of the scheme, just to modify and refine it”, David reflects. Jacqueline continues, “both client and ourselves and Rogerseller were all working together, pushing boundaries and just testing it, to see how far we can go and what the limitations are to achieve the optimal result. That three-way process was really quite important”.
Creating such refined sophistication while working within the footprint of the typical terrace, the Kunstkammer residence project brings the potential of close collaboration and shared vision between architect, client and supplier to fruition.