McBride CharlesRyan (MCR) are an Architect company who work from the basic premise of providing exceptional design for their clients. They work hard to find new ways to solve problems in design and to come up with unique ideas. MCR takes a very hands-on approach to its projects with the philosophy that each person is an individual with unique visions and needs and thus each building should also be unique. They take a genuine bespoke approach based on their client’s dreams and ideas, creating truly one off results. They say “we never arrive at a problem already knowing the answer.” This would seem to be truly person centred Architecture, starting with the space and the people who will inhabit it.
The Cloud House
I was taken with this project as soon as I saw its whimsical and eco conscious design. The Melbourne Design Awards 2012 Architecture Residential Constructed Winner, Cloud House is an addition and renovation to a double-fronted Edwardian house in Fitzroy North. Over many years the house has had a number of additions and modifications. MCR has designed the house into three parts. This gives a varied experience in the space, and one that is not expected as each space is very different. You get a glimpse of what is to come next which draws you through the homes.
The street front of the home was left as it was originally built as a respect for the character of the area. This does not give any indication of the amazing internal changes and addition at the back of the home, adding to the element of surprise. This fits with the philosophy of the Architects as well.
The amazing floral carpet gives a hint at the journey to come. The red box kitchen is the first big surprise and acts as a bridge linking the major spaces, the traditional street front and the cloud-shaped extension which is the unexpected final space. Walls merge seamlessly with the floor and ceiling, creating a sense of being contained by the home, or even a sense of a ship or other vessel.
Importantly, maintaining the original street front section of the home has not only respected the look and history of the local area, but by not bulldozing this part of the build, the architects have added a strong sustainable tick to the project. It goes further in the new extension with the eco factor being considered through the double-glazed end walls of the sustainable timber-lined ‘cloud’ being adjusted, so that the north-facing glazing is inset to eliminate penetration of the summer sun, allowing only controlled north light into the space.
Effective cross ventilation also occurs through this space by opening the southern sliding doors with high placed louvred windows to the north attracting the breeze. Evaporative cooling can also be achieved to the rear of the home from the near by positioning of the swimming pool water. A rain water tank harvests water from the roof of the existing building for irrigating the garden.
I am quite taken with this unusual design and the idea of living in a cloud, as well as the maintaining of the original part of the house. The timber and galv appeal to me greatly. What do you think? Like or not?