A startling, and somewhat controversial, sight in the conservative Melbourne enclave of Toorak, architect Billy Kavellaris’ own extraordinary residence – JARtB House — blurs the lines between both art and architecture and architect and artist. Challenging the norms of residential architecture, the home is a striking focal point that forces one to ask whether it features art or is art?

The design draws inspiration from the extravagant Baroque period, reinstating the role of architect as artist and craftsman, creating a fusion of all the arts and incorporating grandiose ideas that flout convention and elevate Kavellaris’ to a status of true visionary. Taking Baroque ideas and incorporating them in a contemporary language, the front facade is essentially a great staircase with a hole punched through it and a seven-metre cantilever.

Wherever you walk through this extraordinary residence, you experience art. The entire property has been designed with rigorous consideration of every element. Intended to be elevational, spaces are designed like a picture frame, with materials such as exquisite stone from G-Lux, carefully selected as pieces of artwork in themselves.

The 13 murals that comprise the facade were created in different locations around the world by Spanish artists PichiAvo, then ‘stitched’ together as one big mural. The actual facade sits inside the building, so when you are in the art gallery and look up you can see the outside of the building inside the space. On the upper level the glass art exterior allows an ambient light to permeate through to the interior, adding vibrancy and colour.

A 55-metre long art gallery stretches from the front door right to the rear of the block. Raw finishes such as concrete walls are juxtaposed with luxurious materials and of course a myriad of art that includes an entire wall of paintings, contemporary sculpture and inspired furnishings.

Says Kavellaris, “Some people might not like the house, it might be kitschy or confronting, but the idea is to provoke people to think and to take a position on what they think architecture should be. Art is not defined as ‘in’ or ‘on’ the building. Architecture and art cannot be separated. JARtB House becomes liveable art.”

See more at www.kud.com.au