The Tate townhouses in Kew have been inspired by London’s home to modern art, the Tate Modern.
THE ugly home of modern art, London’s Tate Modern, might be an odd choice for inspiration when developing townhouses.
But it’s proven a creative solution to breathing new life into the Sackville Ward in Kew — one of Melbourne’s most heritage-protected pockets.
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The Tate Modern’s Switch House was unveiled in 2016. Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty Images
The distinctive building from the water.
ANGLE director Lachie Gibson said the Tate Kew townhouses were designed with the gallery’s most recent extension by Swiss architects Herzog De Meuron in mind. The first nod to the Tate comes through the development’s brick facades.
Handmade in Stawell, the light clay colour was reflective of the brickwork used at the gallery, and a fit with the City of Boroondara’s preference for facades to remain in keeping with the area’s mostly brick Edwardian homes, Mr Gibson said.
Cera Stribley Architects designed the townhouses and have also borrowed from the angular shapes used by Herzog De Meuron at the Tate Modern, exaggerating the pitch of the townhouses’ rooflines.
Light and angular features play a key part in the design.
“The council wanted to have an angular or pitched roof. We were really conscious of that going into this and we went to them with a design that was very angular at the roof — and now it’s one of the most expressive features of the project,” he said.
“It’s a particularly sensitive part of the world, where developments are very challenging.”
The inspiration continues with angular glass skylights in the upper levels.
“The other thing that we loved about it (the Tate Modern) was the way light at night comes through and beams into the brickwork and the windows,” he said.
The art gallery inspiration makes even more sense when you consider the Lyon Housemuseum across the road, a privately owned art collection put on display by the family who live at the home.
“And the way these homes have been designed is perfect to display art,” Mr Gibson said.
There’s plenty of space to hang a few artworks inside the homes.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouses come with recessed walls — most of them designed to maximise the room for a display.
Copious natural light, as well as 2.9m high ceilings, add a sense of space, while the open-plan living areas have the joinery banked to one side — leaving the opposite wall as an uninterrupted display space.
“And there’s an atrium above the stairwells, and that will create some great opportunities there,” he said.
The townhouses come with a butler’s pantry, Poliform wardrobes that would cost about $65,000 to install in a single residence, natural stone in the form of marble surfaces, and antique brass for the rangehoods.
“We have avoided being trendy and picked a neutral and classic material palette that appeals to a wide range of groups,” Mr Gibson said.
“People can bring in their artwork and their furniture and make it their own.”
The townhouses are priced from $1.895-$2.25 million.