Brighton is well endowed with many fine contemporary homes, some of which take advantage of the views over Port Phillip Bay. Some of the more adventurous homes can be found in the suburb’s leafy streets, creating a ‘dialogue’ with older-style houses from the early 20th century. One recently completed house by March Studio proved fairly divisive, with those either admiring the architectural bravado or alternatively raising eyebrows.

1. March Studio

Location: 24 Victoria Street, Brighton

Recipient of an award from the Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter) in 2018, the ‘Compound House’ as it’s referred to, is perched on a mound and accessed through an automated steel front gate (not dissimilar to entering the Batman Cave). Constructed in insitu concrete and ‘crowned’ by angular copper screens for privacy and sun control, there’s a fortress-like quality from the street. Inside, this unusual house pushes boundaries, including a swimming pool brought up to eye level in the informal living room and a fireman’s pole connecting two levels (fortunately there’s also a stair!).

2. Architect Robert Simeoni

Location: 12 Mulgoa Street, Brighton 

This striking contemporary home in Mulgoa Street stands apart from many of its neighbours, a number which are designed in the faux-French style. Constructed in concrete and clad extensively with Rheinzinc panels, this three-level house (including basement car parking), is conceived as two wings, one for parents and the other for children. Simeoni’s design centres on a partially covered courtyard separating the two wings. “It’s a fairly transparent design, particularly at ground level, ideal for a family with young children,” says Simeoni, who was also mindful of creating generous wall space for the owners’ collection of contemporary art.

3. Architect Richard Kerr

Location: 27 Binnie Street, Brighton East

Evocative of a spaceship, this house designed by architect Richard Kerr in 2012, appears to have just landed in this quiet bayside street. The home’s curvaceous first floor, clad entirely with zinc panels, has a futuristic feel. The organic-shaped first floor contains the bedrooms, including the main bedroom while the ground floor, rectilinear in form, features the open plan kitchen and living areas, orientated to the northern garden. Kerr also strengthened the connection to the outdoors by including a Japanese-style garden at the core of the floor plate.

4. Robson Rak

Location: 22 Cluden Street, Brighton East

Behind this timber clad façade are generous open plan living areas, with terrazzo floors and limed timber ceilings. The rammed earth feature wall in the main living area adds warmth and texture to this fine contemporary home designed by Robson Rak. The home’s restrained façade, a composition of timber, glass and steel, creates a subtle counterpoint to period Victorian homes on either side. This new two-storey house is clearly of the present but also respects the proportions of the neighbouring homes.

5. Wood Marsh

Location –30 Esplanade Brighton

These 24 three-level townhouses designed by esteemed architects Wood Marsh, are ideally located next to the foreshore. Light timber battens literally envelope each townhouse, creating privacy, filtering natural light, and importantly, allow the scent of salt air to permeate. The townhouses feature curved exterior balustrades, further animating these impressive homes. As with driftwood found on Brighton Beach, these striking contemporary homes will eventually turn a silvery grey.

Text by Stephen Crafti
Photo courtesy of Robert Simeoni Architects

12 Mulgoa Street, Brighton


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