Making Industrial Style Come to Life

Melbourne's "Moving House" is designed to breathe behind an aluminium veil.
17 August, 2017
At first look, the house on a residential street in the near Melbourne suburb of Kew, Australia, is more intimidating than inviting.
It's built out of three concrete vaults that complete the interior space, covered in an exterior layer of vertical white aluminium bars around a solid square. It suggests security, as if it might stand up to a tornado or wildfire, or at the very least prove difficult for thieves to enter.

Yet it's all part of a modern design that Architects EAT intentionally planned to deftly fit the house into the existing neighborhood, while protecting privacy and space for a garden, and allowing for airy light. There are plants hanging from gutters, alcoves made from cantilevered beams and other living touches.
The architects decided on the oversized aluminium screen in part to help the building blend in with the taller walls around it, while protecting the available light and using simple forms to deliver a striking structural clarity. It's on the inside of the home, though, where it's easier to see what they achieved.

The vaults that make up the rooms are concrete, so there's a lot of cold gray, but that's where any sense of dreary ends. The complexity of the Moving House is made obvious with the soaring ceiling and skylights, with surprising architectural angles, geometric forms and a few "architectural magic tricks."
Images: Eatas and Wallpaper
In one case, the sunlight pours in from the screened windows above the concrete wall in a living room. From another angle in the same room, the concrete curls down from the ceiling to the wall in a curving motion that reflects the light below. Above the room is a wide concrete beam that runs parallel to both.

Built-in concrete ledges rise from the floor as low shelves, framing entranceways with potted plants. In keeping with the overall design, the white touches inside extend the minimalist experience – but they are especially well-positioned to catch shifting shapes of light as the sun and house "move" across the day. Architects EAT designed the home to draw most of its natural light from above, to good effect.

The experience in the kitchen is much the same, with clear expanses of blinding white walls, a white center island that helps define the space from an adjacent room, and white countertops and shelves. Appliances and accents are in shiny black, with cabinet doors in a light-but-not-blond wood tone. Small details, such as tiling in isosceles trapezoids, add even more angular liveliness to the interior expanse.
Image: Wallpaper
The bath adds a subtle splash of green, with glossy tiles in elongated rectangles about the size of bricks in an otherwise white room, bathed in natural light and appointed with high-quality wood accessories.

At this point in a tour, the "Moving House" moniker starts to make more sense. The concrete vaults that serve as the shell for its residents support spaces that are constantly flowing into each other, placed in juxtaposition with each other, and articulating a new surprise around every corner. That's true as one enters the garden courtyard, which is part of the overall approach to sustainability Architects EAT chose. It includes the light choices, passive cooling – and the aluminium screening that unifies the entire home.
Banner image: Wallpaper