Towers Road House
Conceived as a sculpture to live within, the Towers Road House represents a shared belief between clients and architects that contemporary art enriches life in a profound and meaningful way. Challenging standard notions of domesticity, the abstract form of the building curves around the sloping site, referencing Christo’s Running Fence, introducing a public interface with conceptual art to the established suburb of Toorak.
Like a curtain, the substantial concrete wall carves out a series of landscaped arcs eliminating the archetypal boundary fence, extending the garden to the street and blurring the demarcation between public and private space. Simultaneously, this gesture generates a secluded private realm and the opportunity to open all living and bedroom spaces onto a northern garden. The top of the building is a horizontal line, finished with a three-dimensional hemisphere draped to gently penetrate the seemingly impenetrable mass below. Clad in zinc, the form references an inverted roof or dome, further transforming architectural conventions into sculptural elements.
Eliminating fenestration to the street, the site is entered from a winding path through monumental concrete walls and informal gardens encircling a spherical portico set below street level. The wall is punctuated by a single door that leads one through a dramatic double-height corridor. The dark, narrow passage creates a moment’s pause in the arrival sequence as the impressive verticality of the gently curving raw concrete formwork reveals itself internally.
In absolute contrast to the austerity of the perimeter structure, the building opens to a fully glazed northern façade, filling the interior with an abundance of natural light and embracing the landscaped garden and views to a 150-year-old plane tree.
Responding to the client brief, the program is separated by levels creating flexible, inviting living spaces with integrated art galleries on the ground level. The circular sunken lounge is designed to pay homage to the familial central gathering space around a fireplace. Accessible by a curving dual staircase wrapping around an exposed concrete wall, the private spaces are located upstairs, divided into separate wings for the parents and the children. Additional spaces to accommodate an art gallery, wine cellar and car parking are located in the basement level.
A large private outdoor space beneath the plane tree canopy sits adjacent a swimming pool and pool house, shielded from view by the heavily planted boundary. Small pockets of gardens are planted in the niches formed by the concave external walls allowing verdant views without compromising privacy.
Sculptural, the building’s contemporary language stands it in contrast to its conventional neighbours, satisfying the clients’ desire for a bold and unexpected home embodying their commitment to contemporary Australian art and architecture.