The Minimalist Residence

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The Minimalist Residence2018-03-13T12:42:37+00:00

Project Description


The design brief for this South Yarra Penthouse was to create the most minimal house in Melbourne.

Designed by Mr Wolf in 1995, the residence was conceived through a minimal yet highly functional approach.

Every space was well thought through, there was no wastage and every detail was accounted for; from the joinery, to the fittings and even the furniture.


Size: 35 Squares (325.16 Square Meters)
4 Bedrooms
4 Bathrooms
1 Powder Room / 1 Study Room
2 Living Spaces / 4 Car Spaces

“ Incredible and undeniable detail ”

In 1995 Taras had a brief to design the most minimalist penthouse in Melbourne. While still in his early 20s and only an undergraduate he was already well skilled in design with great sensitivity to proportion. He was already renowned at the faculty of Architecture for his passion and flair for minimalism and thus was given the opportunity to prove himself in the real world. Comprising of the entire penthouse floor of a South Yarra building Taras was assigned the task of designing a minimalist 4 bedroom residence. While today we may debate whether this early work was minimalism or more towards reductivism, it is clear that it was all about less being more and well thought through.

The clients had an eclectic collection of rustic furniture and antiques and wanted them to be presented as though they were artefacts in a museum or artworks in a gallery therefore a minimalist approach made sense. Furthermore a minimalist interior seemed to make a striking and interesting contrast to the classical exterior of the building.

However as a home it still had to function with all the modern conveniences of having things such as TVs and washing machines. Thus in conceiving the spaces much consideration was given to the careful storage and concealment of such modern gadgetry that they were still accessible. Many of the walls are in fact concealed panels from which appliances and other household goods are opened up to be used and then folded or pushed back out of sight. Flush became and all important word in the detailing and meant virtually no tolerance for construction and finish. Everything had to work to the last millimetre.

This project went further than just creating minimal spaces. The light fittings and fixtures such and door handles and water taps had to all be minimalist and tie in together with the architecture. While today many of these things are taken for granted today as they have such a look and are available off the shelf that was not the case in 1995; Taras had to custom design such things. The floor lights for example were a careful modification of standard garden lights and had to be installed in a specific way to allow for another customised translucent safety glass lid that sits flush with the floor. Majority of the water taps and spouts were also customised and built by fine craftsmen, in fact in some cases a jeweller was required.

In some spaces Taras was  commissioned to design the furniture, for example in the second bedroom the timber bed head was designed to be flush in the wall making the bed and wall one.

The Kitchen that resulted was as extreme then as it is now. Everything from light switches and power points to the fridge and cook top is concealed. Even the sink tap and spout is out of sight. In 2015 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this Milestone project and see how those early exercises in both minimalism and reductivism have translated into present WOLF Architecture as it is today.

At present the Penthouse remains mostly unchanged and has become one of WOLF ARCHITECT’S classic works. Still to today this project is studied by Taras’ students and staff to understand detailing and minimalism .