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Architecture Architecture’s Dark Horse

Architecture Architecture’s Dark Horse


In a row of workers’ cottages, there is one Dark Horse – a handsome creature, designed by Melbourne-based practice Architecture Architecture. The stepped parapet, centred window, sidelined door and entrance awning are carried with the familiar, unassuming composure of its neighbours. Yet here the materials, stark in their composition, have a distinctly 21st century character, hinting at the contemporary home within.

dark horse

A palette of black, white and grey is carried throughout the house, lending tonal variation and spatial depth to an otherwise diminutive site. The play of tones establishes a subtle field of spaces that expand and contract, creating moments of generosity and intimacy. The front façade of the home is dominated by clean white, while the rear façade features deep grey and black tones – a visual representation of the house’s name.

In the living areas, where space and light are abundant, the material palette is darker, creating spaces of comfortable repose. Here, sensitive use of acoustic treatment reinforces these qualities.

dark horse

In the corridors where space is tighter, the palette lightens and the ceilings lift. The corridor walls – slim and prefabricated to maximise internal space – are lined with metal sheet to reflect light deep into the house.

In the heart of the house, the living areas open onto a courtyard. The high-ceilinged corridors pinwheel out from this heart, establishing a sunlit centre around which most daily activity occurs.

dark horse

Upstairs, a warmer palette of timber floors and lining boards sets the tone for the private quarters, while dramatic skylights and generous windows cast this Dark Horse in abundant natural light.

“Architecture Architecture have created an outstanding house for us. The ingenious combination of spaces and materials perfectly reflect our personalities. Their attention to detail went well beyond our expectations, and the brilliant result is a testament to that effort.”  – Clients, Charles and Amy.


Photography by Peter Bennetts.


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