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57 Tivoli Road Residence, South Yarra

The fine grain of inner-city housing stock is fraught with narrow blocks and small parcels of land. Measuring only 5 metres by 25 metres, the site for the 57 Tivoli Road Residence has an added constraint of fronting onto a busy road. It was necessary to create visual and acoustic privacy and the illusion of space.

The linear sequence of spaces resulting from the narrow frontage is negated by locating the entrance down a suspended walkway on the outside of the building. Inside the entrance is a sculptural, timber-lined staircase leading up to the main first floor living areas. It also serves to divide the lower level into private bedroom quarter on one side and communal living quarter on the other.

The house is designed for a retired couple with many visiting children and grandchildren. It is a requirement to provide a comfortable space for their family to stay without over-accommodating as they enjoy an independent lifestyle. This gave rise to the Trans-Siberian-style of railway cabins on the ground floor, finished in warm timber and furnished with bunk beds.

Upstairs, the main bedroom and living areas allow the couple to live primarily on the one level. A 6-metre window sliding window opens up the room to create a terrace-like feel of outdoor space layered over the living/dining room. A single material of bluestone is used to create a strong single object, but it’s softened by using panels of different sizes and thicknesses. It appears as a monolithic structure that bookends a group of period homes.