The Arndt Residence and Artbarn is located on a 5 acre site on the fringe of Mornington Peninsula National Park. The area is characterised by typical coastal formations, relatively flat land, and significant pockets of remnant coastal vegetation.
The client brief was to consider the property as an estate with buildings and spaces designed to suit their needs as a family, but also as a place to collect, display and make art. A key aspect was to be able to receive visitors and have guests stay overnight at the property.
The site features a small rise in topography at the centre of the site where an existing dwelling was located.
The existing house was dilapidated and of poor spatial quality as a result of multiple poorly conceived additions. Our client however was keen to re-use the building from a sustainability perspective and so we undertook a curatorial process to strip the building to its 2 storey core, revealing its structural form and a more vertical spatial quality. Domestic elements such as windows and doors were removed to give the building a more abstract quality. This became the Artbarn, a place for storing, displaying and making art.
We then set to create a new residence with a contemporary floor plan, sited to capture the winter sun, and with purposeful connections to the landscape. We gave the new house a simple form, abstracted from sheds and barns giving the house a rural familiarity while also creating interior volumes that could support the display of artworks.
The house also features a-typical proportions with over scaled windows and walls that speak to the scale of the landscape.
The two buildings sit as sculptural counterpoints to each other while maintaining a clear separation between the home and the art space.
The design and construction details for both the Artbarn and main residence were undertaken with careful regard for budget. Value engineering was also undertaken with the Builder to maintain the project budget.
The project was eventually completed to the modest budget of $1.8M + GST for both the Artbarn and new residence including landscaping.
As a footnote, the design process was unique because CHROFI is based in Sydney, the site was in Victoria, and our Client was based in Berlin. The displaced relationships continued throughout the build due to the pandemic with our client remaining in Berlin, and lockdowns preventing us from travelling to Victoria to oversee the Builder.