The Boulevard
Equal parts landscape and house
The Boulevard

Our clients bought the site for its proximity to the beautiful Yarra Flats parklands. With three children, it was important this house could nurture the family as it evolves. The garden and the surrounding environment were important to ensure their children can develop a relationship with nature while living 20 minutes from the city.

Throughout the design process we asked ourselves how can we maximise the surrounding landscape? The result is a house that’s predominantly underground, overcoming the challenge of a steep topography by building into the hillside, concealing the structure as much as possible, and using the garden to extend the environment of the Yarra Flats into the site.

From the perspective of the street, the house is largely hidden, offering passers-by a panorama of the Yarra in a neighbourhood with houses that typically obscure views.

From the garage and roof-top guest parking at the top of the site, winding landscape stairs with adjacent stone channel water feature descends through foliage to the entry hall, which is lined with windows looking out over the back garden.

The kitchen is to the left, with dual island benchtops and a dining area that extends to a living-room. An internal courtyard provides afternoon light and connects to the roof garden through a tall gumtree.

From the entry to the right, a hallway leads to a rumpus room, and then on to the private wing – the master bedroom with ensuite, and stairs down to the lower level that consists of a bathroom, laundry and the three children’s bedrooms. The separation between the upper and lower bedrooms will increase in importance as the children age and independence grows.

This private wing of the house extends out from the hillside. It is not hidden under landscape, instead a gabled roof references the idea of what a house looks like in a child’s mind. The roof is covered with stone slate tiles, a response to a local covenant that creates a connection between the houses of the neighbourhood.

We encouraged the clients to embrace a small yet efficient floorplan — to decrease the building’s impact and cost — thus the relationship with the surrounding garden is crucial to the house’s spacious feel, accentuated by the extensive use of operable glass, as well as the views between spaces across internal courtyards. As the house is buried in the landscape, the surrounding earth offers thermal support that increases the structural efficiency and sustainability.

We collaborated with Ben Scott Garden Design to create a garden that integrates the native vegetation of the adjacent parklands. We covered most of the buildings with green roofs, with plants draping over the edges, so the occupants always feel connected to their environment.

The Boulevard is a four bedroom home that embraces, enhances and extends the ecosystem of the surrounding environment.

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