Fairfield Hacienda

“Fairfield Hacienda is a provocative and clever inversion of the traditional middle suburban house.” Residential Architecture New award citation.

On the fringe of Melbourne’s inner suburbs, this new family home sits in an established residential street of Victorian villas and Californian bungalows. From the footpath, the Fairfield Hacienda with its angled roof fits into the landscape of single-level homes, effortlessly picking up the street’s original pattern of hipped and gabled roof forms. A closer look however, reveals that this new house sits unusually behind a sunny, walled courtyard.

The concrete block walls of the courtyard continue without interruption throughout the house’s main living areas. These walls remain unchanged except for the patina. Outside they are rough and weathered, but become polished and honed once inside. The space is covered with an undulating canopy of cedar, a warm blanket of timber.

From here, the more private areas of the house unfurl. The bedrooms are folded around an enclosed garden, a green lung that provides light and air into the centre of the house.

And yet, of all the wonderful and carefully considered materials that make up this home, one could not be bought and affixed prior to moving in. It is, quite simply, time. As the Fairfield Hacienda and its occupants settle into the street, creepers and greenery will gradually claim the courtyard walls. A canopy will grow into a dappled roof and in the central garden, plants will provide convenient screening for the children from the parents.

Once this final element has taken root, Fairfield Hacienda will have achieved what its occupants wanted. A feeling of permanence. To create a home and become a part of the street and its ongoing history.

Photographs by Peter Bennetts

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