Practical yet playful, the Charles House is a multigenerational home designed with an eye for detail and sustainability in Kew, Australia. Austin Maynard Architects designed the spacious home for a family of five who wanted a home they could live in for at least 25 years. The home, which is adaptable to meet the needs of a growing extended family, is one of the architects’ most sustainable homes to date and features a solar array, bulk insulation, and double stud walls.
Unlike its “McMansion” neighbors, the Charles House has a unique design that references historic Edwardian and Victorian homes with a modern twist. Instead of building on top of the plot’s entire width, the architects slotted the home on the southern edge and left a long strip of green open for a garden that runs from the street to the school sports field at the rear of the site. The continuous green strip is accessible to all the living spaces of the home and blur the line between indoor and outdoor living.
“Sited in Kew, where neighbouring buildings compete for attention and status, our challenge was to create a home that didn’t dominate the street and was imbedded in gardens,” wrote the architects. “We aimed to create a home that didn’t have a tall defensive fence, but instead offered openness and life to the street.”
The home is broken down in a series of interconnected volumes, each clad in a different slate pattern. The interior is designed for adaptability and rooms can be converted to accommodate different uses. The home is topped with a rooftop solar array and also includes water collection, doubled glazed windows, and adjustable sun shading and siting.