Pink Castle is King of Sustainability

Nestled within a tree-lined street in the inner-city suburbs of Melbourne, lies a suburban family home like you’ve never seen it before. A modern interpretation of all your fairy tale dreams, the Merri Creek House resembles a whimsical pink castle, cylindrical turrets and all. With its double-height towers, arched windows and sweeping décolletage staircase, it may be a shock to hear that perhaps the most impressive part of this home is not its striking façade, but its incredible sustainable credentials.

When Monique and Scott Woodward, co-founders of WOWOWA Architecture, designed this sculptural masterpiece, their overriding design ambition was to make ‘the familiar strange and the strange familiar’. This concept couldn’t be truer for this unconventional home, where the modern and gothic intersect in a wonderful, playful way. The Merri Creek house, which was built by Atma Builders, features three turrets; a front one that is split into a rumpus below and a study above, and a middle turret housing the dining table and wall-sweeping staircase. The third, deconstructed turret sits to the left of the home, resembling an eroding ruin approaching the creek.

On realising their bold vision for the building, Scott and Monique turned to clay brick to bring their concept to life. Instead of a traditional regular shape, Merri Creek House features larger curved walls and cylindrical towers, which take inspiration from Australian farm relics and European castles. ‘We worked closely with Brickworks to choose exactly the type of material that would enhance our design,’ says Monique Woodward. ‘We selected a combination of Daniel Robertson Traditional bricks and Allure bricks from the Austral Bricks range.

The architects chose a textured carbon neutral brick because of its aesthetic appeal, enduring strength and sustainable characteristics. The turrets, whilst romantic in nature, also offered a masculine sense of strength to the building, which WOWOWA expanded upon. ‘Their robust nature feels grounded and protected against the elements – so solid that no fire or flood could bring them down,’ Monique says. ‘Given the site’s proximity to Merri Creek and surrounding bushlands, a hearty response felt appropriate.’

The use of brick as the core construction material not only provided structural benefits to this project, but also improved the homes overall energy efficiency. The specified bricks assist with lowering the carbon footprint of the home, which is further supported by the use of carbon-neutral bricks. The inclusion of solar panels and an on-site rainwater tank also contribute to the home’s green endeavours.