Resembling a rectangular origami of concrete and glass, The Courtyard Residence in Melbourne by FGR Architects is a design of calm expression, heightened experience, and seamless function. Created for a young family wanting a clean and minimal home, the project centres around maximising natural light while delivering privacy and prismatic delight thanks to a concrete geometry and bespoke glass apertures.

Adopting the classic Mediterranean model of a central courtyard, the house thrives on external privacy and internal experience. Moments of stillness and exuberance exist within this continuum. The home’s street presence is intriguing due to an understated elevation with implied, layered volumes. The low proximity is used to advantage, allowing the northern sunlight to come in, while providing a sense of intimacy from the street. In contrast to the privacy of the streetscape, the interior reveals a masterful series of concertinaed spaces that bloom poetically with a warm materiality.



Rather than overwhelm, the architecture is executed in such a way that it provides a subtle background, beautiful and refined, for the clients to inject their own personality. Water as wellspring is the focus of the courtyard as an oasis, where reflection and delight are contrasted by the monumental energy of matte and polished concrete. Muted surfaces celebrate a sophisticated rawness throughout, supported by the evolving dance of light, shadow, and reflection. A restrained material palette, notably selected timbers including American oak and fine steel windows, contribute nuance and elegance. 



Despite its heroic elements, the house transcends its gallery-like scale and functions as a series of beautifully proportioned living spaces. Flexible options for opening and closing interiors with sliding glass walls make for an immersive connection with the pool, courtyard, and sunlight. Equally, the house can be closed down as required to mediate harsh weather and optimize thermal performance.


Concrete walls and overhangs are incorporated for shade and shelter. This design vocabulary of burnished, creamy, concrete finishes flows from the inside out, often appearing almost luminous in its sculptural force.

Principal living spaces radiate from the courtyard yet offer delight, whether fully open to the courtyard, or as discrete spaces. Offering serenity – with plenty of scope for exuberance and play – the Courtyard Residence offers inspired scope for family living.

Photography by Peter Bennetts

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