May 15, 2012

Cloud House :: new work by McBride Charles Ryan :: pushing the boundaries

Form, geometry, colour. 
They are the signature hallmarks of all McBride Charles Ryan projects.
And this new work, Cloud House,
an extension to an Edwardian property in Fitzroy North,
uses all 3 elements to create a space which is playful,
dynamic & lively.
Let's see this in context first.
The property is in a typical street 
in one of Melbourne's older inner city suburbs,
filled with Victorian & Edwardian cottages.
In fact, from this view,
one wouldn't have the slightest inkling of the
extraordinary space behind.
Which is just how the clients wanted it. 
But when the front door swings open,
a boldly patterned and colourful carpet
gives a rather large clue that this is no ordinary 
heritage renovation.
Look carefully.

Can you see a glowing red space at the end of the corridor?
This is the glowing red space.
(We have turned around to look back at the front door.)
The red space is the kitchen, 
the ceremonial & geographic heart of the home.
It represents the junction between old + new,
with its shock of colour and jagged lines.
And here is the new: a curvaceous, frolicsome space
where the usual distinction between floor, wall and ceiling 
is somehow irrelevant. 
The cloud shape of the extension is very much in deliberate contrast
with the original building.
It is the play space, opening up to a lap pool and garden,
flooded with southern light by day
and lit up like a glowing jewel box at night.
While previous works by this imaginative architectural practice
have explored the geometry of angles
(like their Klein House, which won the title of World's Best House in 2009,
in the World Architecture Festival),
Cloud House plays with geometry again,
but with a very different effect of curvaceous organic shapes.
And it's yet another of their works which pushes the boundaries,
making us rethink and requestion just exactly
what is defined by a "house".


29 comments:

  1. Love it, what a funky design! I absolutely adore the patterned carpet at the front door too, a fantastic house! x :)

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  2. Love the hall carpet - but that's about it. They have obviously spent a fortune on all that fancy 'cloud' work and yet have spent nothing on the front of the house. Let alone the screening under the pool deck - they seem to have missed a few boards (it looks kinda tacky). Sorry Virginia - you know I usually love every-single-house you post - but I think in this instance their creativity is misplaced and they have done design 'just' for design sake. Perhaps it might have worked in a commercial setting - but definitely not residential.

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    1. Wow - don't hold back there Linda! Actually, I am delighted to hear what you honestly think - it is much more interesting to me to know what people really think. So you won't be doing an extension in this style any time soon then?

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  3. I just love the carpet in the hallway!

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    1. This is fascinating! So far, everybody likes the carpet...but maybe not quite so much the extension???

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  4. I think contrast between front and back is just fine, and I am a modernist, and generally love his work. He is a nice guy too. He has done two places down the road from me.

    BUT I do think it looks a bit unfinished outside and in the front.

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    1. Hi Jane. I suspect it isn't completely finished, or at least they haven't properly moved in to it yet - because as well as the missing pieces of timber on the deck, there sure isn't much happening in the shelves yet either.

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  5. Absolutely amazing!!! The architecture is just stunning!
    Would love for you to visit my blog sometime!

    :)
    Allison
    afashionfiles.blogspot.com

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  6. WOW Virginia - I adore the places you post - this is amazing. Perhaps a tad to bold for me - but I like the architecture, the carpet and the lines - :)
    Have a great day
    Ax

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    1. Oh yes, it's not for the faint-hearted, that's for sure!

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  7. Wow! That carpet fits perfectly with the black door. Fabulous!

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    1. Hi Tibs. I must say the carpet is grabbing everybody's attention. And yes, just perfect with the black door. (But then, in my opinion, a glossy black door goes with pretty much any kind of architecture.)

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  8. What an absolutely amazing house! Love the unique architecture...and that floral rug is pretty awesome :)

    Annie
    The Other Side of Gray

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  9. I'm a fan of the carpet as well. Not a real fan of the extension as a residential space though. Its very interesting but a bit over the top for mine! x

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    1. Another vote for the carpet...this is amazing!

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  10. This is so bold and sculptural. What creativity. This is art created by an architect. I love the cloud shape, the interior red coloration and all the wood not so much. I wish I had clients I could talk into doing things this bold!

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    1. And that is just exactly it, I think Carla. All depends on the client, and where they want to take the possibilities of architecture.

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  11. Architecturally I can appreciate the beauty of this extension, but I am in no way a fan of these old/new combination spaces. I like things to be one or the other, and this is really jarring with the feel of the original property in my head. The carpet... hells yes.

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    1. I find this endlessly interesting - this option between contrast or blend - people are so very divided in their opinions one way or the other. Which is just as well, or everything would look the same the world over.

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    2. "but I am in no way a fan of these old/new combination spaces"
      I hate faux original extensions: if it is new, don't lie about it. Of course, the contrast may not work everytime. It's hard to tell only from photos. I'm busy on google maps and bing bird's eye looking for it, probably too recent though!

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    3. I doubt it would be on google yet because it is so very newly built that they haven't even really furnished it yet, let alone finished the landscaping. (Personally, I like to see houses like that, before they get "styled".) And yes, I do agree with you, that it needs to be handled with an expert eye or it can just end up a big miss-mash.

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  12. Wow! A fantastic addition/renovation!

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  13. What what whaaaat? This is probably one of the most unexpected transformations I have come across! I've got to admit that I probably wouldn't be able to live in it but I love it for the hell of it! The shape, the pool, the weird cube kitchen... it's definitely a strong talking point!

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    1. Would perhaps be a fun space for a friend to have though, so you could visit without living in it?

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  14. I'm a rebel. :) Because I don't like the carpet. Nope. And I do like the extension. Or will once it is finished and lived in!

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    1. Good gracious. You don't like the carpet?? Well you are a rebel! Which is somewhat ironic, as most people would say liking the carpet is rebellious too, compared with a plain pattern. Am I tangled here???

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  15. love it ♥
    Looks really cool.

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  16. That was an awesome architectural creation! The contrast of colors from the first layer through the second part of the house makes you feel like you are entering a tunnel and eventually reach the end. I love the shape of the roof that forms a cloud with twinkling stars which are the lights.

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