Tension in architecture doesn’t always land well. Push it too far and the concept ends up overwhelming the experience, too subtle and it can be lost among the elements. But whether in materials, form or palette, tension is an element that elevates an interesting design to a memorable one.

Achieving a sense of tension through duality was the driving inspiration for this recent home by Kavellaris Urban Design. Located in a modest suburban neighbourhood, the front facade is highly modern, its two forms, curved lines and black glass evoking a futuristic style – this is not your average urban family home. Inside the house, this sense of intrigue plays out through the tension of spaces and elements, creating a home that has no problem holding your attention.

ARCHITECTURE: Kavellaris Urban Design

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Described by the architect as “a conversation of dualities”, there is a sense of modern tranquility throughout this design. This aesthetic is set from the outset with the facade; its double height, recessive entry and curved parallel form both uniting a mixture of materials (crisp tiling, rustic timber, stone and black glass) to frame an unusual shape. Within the home, this entry ‘void’ becomes a corridor snaking its way through the home, separating living area from the private bedroom and bathroom spaces. These private areas are smaller, more intimate spaces, contrasted with the large, open-plan living area that includes the kitchen, dining and living rooms as well as an extensive outdoor entertaining space. A raised glass swimming pool has been cleverly integrated to this communal area, with one end of the pool ending in a transparent glass wall looking in to the living room.

The gentle tension of this design is further reinforced with the materials. Continuing on from the front of the home’s confident marriage of elements, the interiors draw on dark timber, warm stone and large expanses of glass to weave in and out throughout the spaces, while a monochrome palette creates clean, modern tones from curved white walls to large steel-framed doors and windows.

While this home is certainly an assured design statement, it wears its interest in duality and tension honestly, bringing a space to life that is open and enclosed, cool and warm at once. And while the adult residents may have plenty to admire from the design, we’re sure the kids will just love mucking around with that transparent pool wall.

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As a foil to the highly unique facade of the home, the front yard is simply a moat of sand, softly framing the conceptual design of the home and really allowing the combination of shapes and textures of the space to breathe. 

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