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Arc Side by Jolson Architecture and Interiors


Initially designed for the current owners as two self-contained apartments, this Melbourne property has been holistically reimagined by Jolson Architecture and Interiors as a single residence over three levels. First designed in 2001 by Cox Carmichael and completed in 2003, the building has been given a complete overhaul by Jolson involving the removal of internal walls and floors to allow for spaces that are both fluid and interconnected. The original façade has been simplified, with its inverted arch and sweeping curves providing a key source of inspiration for the new design of this contemporary home.

Although generous in size and spread over three levels, the spaces are far from overwhelming. The kitchen and living areas are located on the top level to take advantage of the views and light, while the main bedroom suite is on the middle level. Jolson not only strategically zoned these levels to allow for family and guests, but also manipulated the spaces with cleverly concealed sliding doors to create both flexible spaces and privacy when required.

Pivotal to this design is the change in format of the spaces themselves. Previously many of the rooms featured low ceilings and benefited from having only one aspect. The substantial renovation, which includes the addition of a monumental, 7-metre high void and a dramatic curvaceous steel staircase, means that the spaces can now enjoy sightlines across each of the three floors. 

The dominant cue in driving this design was the curved inverted arch from the original facade. Simplified, the curves have now become a subtle feature within every space, be it the gentle curved polished plaster walls or the forms of the ceilings. Looking at Jolson’s extensive repertoire of fine bespoke homes, predominantly orthogonal in form, this design presents a new direction for the practice. The Jolson team was also mindful of not only creating the appropriate spaces for their clients but allowing for a more timeless aesthetic that would be as appreciated now, and well as into the future. Given the vibrancy of the immediate environment, the palette of materials and colours used for this project is deliberately restrained and understated. Materials are limited to stone, used for benches and splash-backs, steel for the staircase, brass for joinery and American oak timber for floors. Jolson took a holistic approach, applying the same level of detail to the garden, as to the home, be it the inclusion of a vegetable garden on the top level to mediate privacy or the curved stone path in the back garden to reiterate the curvaceous façade and interior spaces.

Restraint and meticulously detailed materials and finishes have elevated this home into a new realm. A timeless design, filled with poetic gestures, this home shows how one simple curve can not only inspire the architects but, as importantly, set them on a new path of discovery. And while this virtually new home is a masterpiece of architecture, it is also a comfortable and functional space for the clients and their extended family.

For further inspiration from Jolson, take a look at Orchard Piper Huntingtower Road. 

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