Inside Blade House by Tecture
Melbourne based architecture practice Tecture thrive on creativity; working across a diverse range of projects each with its own unique identity. We caught up with the Tecture team to learn more about one project in particular that captured our imaginations. Blade House is a testament to the beauty and strength of concrete construction and a study in the relationship between built and natural environments. Throughout the project, textural elements – including Armadillo rugs – were incorporated to conjure warmth and character, with exceptional results. We caught up with the team at Tecture to learn more about their vision for and execution of this ambitious build.
Photography Timothy Kaye
Can you start by telling us a little bit about the client and their brief for this project?
When the client first made contact with us, we were excited to hear that they had been referred by a contact in Echuca and how powerful word of mouth was. We were thrilled to be involved and met the clients who were so down to earth – we felt an instant connection.
The brief seemed easy; a four bedroom home with one living room, a strong connection to outdoors, but more importantly, a five car garage to house a boat, motorbikes and more.
Blade House was Tecture’s first foray into concrete construction. Can you tell us about why you chose concrete and how it impacted the overall design?
Concrete was a material on the clients wishlist, and one we were welcome to explore. Many clients aspire to have concrete homes but we have to steer them away from it due to cost. Because the clients were in the industry and were building the home themselves, it became feasible for this project.
As a result of trying to hibernate the garage, the concrete became an intrinsic design element and provided inspiration for the name ‘Blade House’. The large blade conceals the garage from entry and the smaller blade starts at a human scale to assist guiding visitors to the entry.
With concrete being the primary material employed both outside and inside the house, what elements were incorporated to bring warmth and texture to the space?
To bring warmth to the spaces timber and the soft furnishings become integral to eliminating the coldness concrete can create. Timber lines the entry and main corridor floors as well as the ceiling in the living pavilion. The same lining was used on the joinery in the kitchen, while in spaces like the bathrooms, study and walk in 'robe a wood veneer was used to continue the design philosophy. Texture and tones in furniture vary dramatically to further add warmth, and colors mimic those within the landscape surrounding the home.
Tecture’s sister company Side Project Projects was tasked with the appointment of the home’s furnishings. How did you envision these pieces working back with the overall design?
Tecture and Side Project Projects work within the same space and we cross over to assist each other constantly. We work together to decide on tones and a furniture philosophy on every project - even if we are not directly selecting it - so it is all considered from the beginning. In our first interiors meeting we always introduce a collection of materials for furniture, rugs and curtains so our clients can envisage the whole palette together.
There’s a compelling interplay between design and nature with Blade House. How did the site and location play into your vision for the project?
Being a dramatically sloping site, several factors had to be considered; view lines, the connection to outdoors and environment. We knew the living and entertaining area needed to be positioned to embrace the northern view and the southern bushland. But we also never want to surrender the main bedroom to these items, so we chose to stagger the living and main bedroom, allowing both to enjoy a strong northern orientation.
At Armadillo, we think a lot about how our rugs become more beautiful and more characterful over time. How do you see Blade House maturing and is this something that factors strongly in your design process too?
Blade House is a robust statement and home, and while the character of the timber may fade over time, the concrete walls will remain as a strong feature in the landscape for many decades to come. Over time the landscape will grow and connect to the dwelling even further, only enhancing itself in its location.
At Tecture, we always aim to create architecture that matures in a timeless manner so it can still be admired in years to come. Often, this is achieved by designing minimal, detail focussed architecture void of trend based items and a strong rationale to our decision making.
Lastly, what are you looking forward to most for the New Year?
We look forward to a positive year ahead on many fronts. While the last 2-3 years have been unique in terms of the global health, financial and diplomatic environment, we hope there is some balance restored and to continue with a positive mindset that we are extremely fortunate to be in Australia and producing great design outcomes. We will continue to be grateful for opportunities such as Blade House being presented to us, and look forward to showcasing many more of the homes we have been lucky to be working on.