Chainmail House

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  • 2022

  • Architectural

Designed By:

  • MHN Design Union

Commissioned By:

K2 Property Development

Designed In:

Australia

A landmark residence, our recent Vaucluse project makes a vivid impression. Impactful in its design and materiality selections both externally and internally, the home caters to the various needs of urban family living while serving as a representation of the client’s own handiwork in the property and construction sector.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • The steep nature of the site proved an initial challenge for our architectural team to traverse during the design and building phases. Initially designed to use precast concrete, which would be time effective during construction, the project changed direction due to the site slope and the access issues for machinery. We also encountered various deviations to our plans during the building process that we had to meet with on-the-fly alternative methods to ensure the design’s integrity was protected. Additionally, we had to design aesthetically responsive privacy buffers to protect the home from the impact of the busy main road location.

  • We moved to an off-form concrete construction for the external works. This meant that we had to document the building as it was being built. The structural off-form concrete is a major part to the materiality of the house, however also one of the first elements to be constructed on site. We included vertical concrete columns to filter the view from inside while forming a privacy buffer from the busy main road outside, a modernising motif which is repeated internally in strategic areas, such as to the side of the central stair void, spanning two storeys.

  • The design brief included the client’s desire to create a home with a point of design difference. A box element on the top level shrouded in a chainmail mesh cover forms a glamourising design element of the home, and, at the sides, also dispenses necessary filtered privacy for the master bathroom within. The home neither subtly blends into the streetscape background, nor obnoxiously pushes boundaries for the sake of making a radical design statement. The combination of the chainmail mesh and foundational off-form concrete as the primary external palette conveys a sense of both substantiality and elegance.

  • Despite the steep site organically suggesting car parking at street level, garaging at a lower level of the home became a fundamental design strategy which enabled the living and entertainment spaces to be accessed at the convenience of street level. Internally, our intention was to create an abundance of filtered light which floods the space from multiple directions through strategically placed open spaces, stair voids and skylights. The entry leads to consecutively larger spaces, ending at the open plan living and kitchen space, which is framed by impressive views to the harbour. Clean and minimal surfaces are layered with detailed wall furnishings and joinery, which soften the interior. Highlighting the other all-important materiality selections made by our team, we drew upon Western Red Cedar timber on the front door, Kebony timber on the entry bridge and pool cabana deck, and garage door battening in Cambia Ash. These timber inclusions provide a tempering natural element to the home’s exterior palette, complemented by irregularly patterned sandstone retaining walls, which provide a referential connectivity to the Sydney foreshore environment. Concrete column screens (made in-situ), dark bronze windows and metal features provide refined additions to the palette.