Cloud House by McBride Charles Ryan

Click to enlarge
This rear extension takes the whimsical form of a timber-lined cloud.

This rear extension takes the whimsical form of a timber-lined cloud. Image: John Gollings

Deep in Melbourne’s North Fitzroy is a conversion known as the Cloud House. Designed by McBride Charles Ryan, the façade to the street is quiet, unassuming and respectful of the local historical heritage. Out the back, however, all heaven breaks loose.

A simple platform of kitchen, dining and living has been wrapped with an extruded undulating wall that – in cross-section at least – resembles a cloud. Hence the nickname. The curving walls – like the floor – are clad in strips of timber and the three- dimensional form suggests an inverted skate bowl. Inside and outside are mediated by a carefully detailed glass wall that all but disappears. But is this a cloud? It feels more like a caricature of a cloud, a diagram or a child’s drawing (or the kind of drawing of a cloud you might find on the ceiling of a child’s bedroom).

Nothing wrong with this. Fifty years ago, Robert Venturi coined the architectural term “duck” to identify buildings that through their form explicitly reference something else, usually the mundane. So this could be a cloud and it might be a duck, but is it hot? Definitely. Its cross-section alone is evidence of its determination and its commitment to an idea.

The Electric Kool-Aid Kandy-Koloured Kitchen also burns red-hot. This house has its feet on the ground and its butt in the clouds. It is architecture that is two parts serious, one part playful with a twist of wild. Add ice and stir.

mcbridecharlesryan.com.au


More spaces

Kinetic meals

Kinetic meals

A bistro in the old Salvation Army Citadel in New Plymouth has just opened and it is positively luscious.
La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita

A Milan apartment bows to its 1930’s roots and to its interior designer’s trademark idiosyncratic style.
The white house

The white house

A sleek and striking building in Auckland’s eastern suburbs contains a modern, pared-back apartment.

Most read

Win the ultimate date night!

Win the ultimate date night!

To celebrate the upcoming Architecture and Design Film Festival, Urbis is giving away three date night packages in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, each valued at up to $1250.
Milan Furniture Fair 2015

Milan Furniture Fair

Mike Thorburn of ECC is at the Milan Furniture Fair and will be reporting daily on the the highly anticipated event.