Grand Designs Australia

Federation Square architect builds his very own Grand Design

This is the story of the Grand Designs Australia home shortlisted in the Victorian Architecture Awards.

Experimenting and pushing boundaries are two things that come naturally to Melbourne architect Tim Hill.

As a project architect for Melbourne's Federation Square, he knows a thing or two about breaking the mould.

After completing work on his reimagined terrace in the city's inner suburb of Kensington, Tim and partner Victoria English were ready to upsize following the arrival of their son Casper.

So on a small triangular slice of land in Kensington, Tim set himself the challenge of designing and building an innovative home that fulfilled the practical needs of his growing family.

The answer? A house shaped like a foot. A house of curves with no straight walls in sight.

Nicknamed Bigfoot, it was "a nightmare" for builder Brian Donnelley, who is used to using grid lines for reference.

String lines were the surprisingly basic solution to measuring every point in every curve, bit by bit.

Victoria explained: "It's the shape of a foot because it's on a triangle and we wanted to maximise the space but also have a garden.

"It wasn't the kind of shaped block that you would do a traditional house on - we need a three bedroom house and so it just made sense to plonk it in the middle."

Timber is the hero inside, used for the walls, ceiling and joinery. Outside, the steel facade is designed to resemble a pleated skirt.

The original budget for the three-bedroom home was $600,000 and by creating his own computer model and drawings, Tim saved around $30,000.

But curves don't come cheap and quotes for the home's steel beams came in as high as $150,000, resulting in a compromise hybrid version of steel and timber.

After 14 months, a beautiful, audacious home stands shimmering on this compact Melbourne block.

The completed home brings a completely new dynamic to this typical Melbourne street.

Victoria says: "It's much less feminine than I thought it would look but I think that's probably good. You don't really want to live in a skirt!"

It's finely honed, and inside the couple have taken a minimalist approach to furniture, instead choosing built-in seating options not dissimilar to a boat.

A curved house is not an easy house to build, but Tim's mission of being true to his creative self while building the perfect family home saw him find the right balance.

The final budget came in at around $720,000, but that was clearly money well spent given the house is now shortlisted in the Victorian Architecture Awards.

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1 comment
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Posted by Ian389Report
What a self-indulgent, intellectually-bereft piece of Urban Design vandalism!