Kennedy Nolan’s interiors are beautifully composed. The palette of textured cream surfaces bolstered by the purity of white makes for an impeccably calming and satisfying field of vision. Limed timber joinery is soft and warm and embraces me throughout the house, and is often bevelled and off-grid, so as to promote a meandering line throughout the building, creating spaces and objects to explore and touch. Strong sculptural elements appear where they are most useful and enjoyed. In a playful chess-like stand-off, an oversized timber cruciform column at the edge of the kitchen is the internal ballast to the external brick fireplace and wood store in the adjacent courtyard.
The salient problems of the suburbs as defined by Boyd were–and still are–sprawl, aesthetics and sustainability. The Laver House is an excellent counter to Boyd’s ‘unthinking aesthetics of our suburbia’ simply in breathing new life into a tired building, by not allowing it to wallow in redundancy and architectural erraticism. Kennedy Nolan has taken a disjointed building and cured its split personality disorder by applying a well-orchestrated series of material and formal tactics with fluency and skill. These architects have reduced the previous anomalies, and introduced strong guiding principles for the building that are robust enough to ensure that the line between new and old is difficult to identify. They answer the question of how to contribute well to the suburbs by doing precisely what Boyd expected of them–in order to densify the suburbs, you must make better use of the space, efficiently and more pleasurably. There will be none of the famous verbal laceration here–this is a formally and programmatically engaging house, and it is a cohesive singular building that will stand and deliver for decades to come.