Architecture: La Scala House, Brisbane, Australia

The Local Project (February 10, 2023) – A living work of art, La Scala by Richards & Spence is an architects’ own home that can be considered as a sequence of discovery and revelation. Located in Brisbane, the home is a contemporary monolithic structure of concrete, stone and greenery.

Video timeline: 00:00 – Introduction to the Iconic Monolithic Home 00:39 – The Inner-City Location 01:00 – Designing with Entertaining in Mind 01:35 – A Long Term Plan 01:52 – The Key to Planning 02:27 – A Walkthrough of the Home 02:53 – The Double Height Volume 04:00 – Spatial Contrast and Emotive Responses 04:44 – Blurring the Lines of Inside and Outside 05:32 – Materials for the Long Term 05:51 – Swaying from the City’s Nostalgia 06:08 – Building for a Hot Climate 06:33 – A Contrast to the Concrete 06:49 – The Project’s Biggest Success

Considering the life of the home and how it may look in 50 to 100 years, the architects have imagined a ruin-like appearance finished with raw materials and green life that blur the lines between liveable spaces. Designed as both a sanctuary for its owners and a place to entertain, the home’s layout unfolds from the ground up like a living work of art. Starting the home tour from the garage and lower ground, guests enter into a moody portico that offers privacy to the other levels upon arrival.

Moving on to the lower ground bedroom, the unique design showcases the owners’ desire to create an iconic residence that takes advantage of the homes location on the side of a hill. In the main bedroom, the architects employ reeded glass at the bottom of the double-height windows to add a playful reflection of light that turns the modern bedroom into a living work of art. Up on the middle floor, a guest bedroom and bathroom have been installed along with a spare bathroom for parties. However, in addition to the rooms, the middle level also holds a unique hallway with low height ceilings that terminates in a dark timber enclosure, suggesting a cave-like experience.

Lit only by a window that looks down into the lower bedroom, the enclosed hallway focuses upon spatial variety and the sequence of contrast throughout the home’s architecture. Comparing high and low, light and dark, rough and smooth, the architects have introduced materials and design choices that evoke an emotive response. Past the middle floor, the large room that holds the entertaining spaces, as well as the central courtyard, is filled with natural light and introduces plant life into the home, turning it into a living work of art. Filled with lush greenery, the middle courtyard is designed to let the plants grow without constraint. Ivy grows inside and out and blurs the lines between spaces, while the Zoysia grass has been chosen for its self-undulation.

With large single pours of concrete, the home appears as a living work of art that has been carved out of a single piece of material. Contrasting against the concrete and stone is brass and timber, which help to heighten the experience within and turns the masterpiece home into a living work of art. Holding and manipulating light, La Scala offers different experiences throughout the day, while the shared spaces bring a new level of social living for its owners and their guests.

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