The Story Behind The Design
B.E Architecture were provided with a clear brief, but were open to having their ideas challenged throughout the process – a characteristic that led director Andrew Piva to describe the owners as “role-model clients”.
"For a material that’s so heavy and dense, the granite was quite mouldable, pliable and adaptable."
Positioned on a sweeping bend and opposite crossroads, the architects wanted the home to sit quietly on the street, yet be strong, proud and private. “In this position, people are going to see the building and we didn’t want to squander that opportunity,” said Andrew.
And squander the opportunity they did not. Instead, B.E Architecture designed a solid, 260-tonne granite structure that delivered a sense of permanence and authority.This was driven by a desire to create a building that “has a sense of time, history or place” in a similar fashion to civic architecture. Granite enabled B.E Architecture to reinterpret traditional materials and building techniques in a contemporary form. “When you discover a beautiful material like that, you want to see it in all its glory; you want to celebrate it,” explained Andrew.While granite can traditionally have a sombre, oppressive appearance, the split-faced stone has a beautiful natural quality with the quartz and silvery flicks refracting light that broke down the mass form.
For Andrew, the Torino finish options also provided the best of both worlds. As a honed surface, the stone looked identical in colour to the brushed finish paving outdoors, allowing for a unified transition between the two spaces.To emphasise the unified aesthetic, B.E Architecture extended the palette into the bathroom where the bathtub and sinks have been engineered from solid blocks of Fallow granite. With an incredible aspect looking out onto a first-floor walled Japanese maple garden, the design team wanted to push the bathroom aesthetics and create something special in the space.
"All of a sudden something that was once really heavy becomes almost cloud-like and uplifting."
Take A Closer Look
This quality inspired the design team to use different types of granite throughout the building, unifying the palettes of the external and internal spaces. Pairing back the material palette is a common approach B.E Architecture aims to take. Andrew explained this is not to produce a monotone building with no movement, but to avoid their buildings being phonetic.To create a seamless aesthetic, B.E Architecture chose the Torino stone pavers as flooring throughout the interior and outdoor spaces. “As a floor, it needs to be forgiving and you don’t want it to feel precious. The tonal variation and texture of the Torino also had that sense of movement we desired.”
With its solid nature and silvery, cool-grey undertones, granite on mass has the potential to appear cold and uninviting, a feeling B.E Architecture was conscious to avoid. “The mottled Torino finish and colour added warmth to the palette, as does the use of timber,” explained Andrew.Inside, limed walnut veneer cabinetry with touches of brass offset the stone. Outside, custom designed weathered grey pacific teak shutters have been carved into the split stone granite form. This added contrast and made the building dynamic and adaptable, while meeting the client’s brief of flooding the interior spaces with natural light.
“We wanted to push the material without going that one step too far and appearing too tricky.” The monastic stone bathtub and fluid form of the basins were balanced by the form and translucent quality of the honed Fallow granite. The introduction further added warmth and softness. “It feels honest,” said Andrew. “The space has exceeded our expectations.”