Alterations and additions to an inner-city Victorian terrace house

Thursday 20 Dec 2012

New additions results in split levels and pocket courtyards

The client's brief was to design a new four-bedroom residence for their young family by refurbishing an original Victorian two-storey terrace and demolishing a shamble of lean-tos and former industrial metal shed. The site is closely bounded by residential units to the south-west and the Piano Factory warehouse apartment conversion to the north. The west and east offer framed views to established trees and green streetscape respectively.

Taking these issues into consideration, the new additions attach to the rear of the terrace and unfold along the length of the site, with new floor levels corresponding to the natural topography, resulting in a series of split levels and pocket courtyards. The eight-metre high stepped Piano Factory heritage wall along the northern boundary serve as the backdrop to the garden and new living spaces. Minimal alteration was required to the original terrace house configuration as it naturally suited the programs for bedrooms and private bathrooms for the family. The heavily shaded site gave the opportunity to explore the use of glazed elements differently.

Inverting normal conventions, opening windows are solid panels and walls are fixed clear glass. Skylights along the southern edge of the house, above the main living areas, capture daylight throughout the year. The loggia opening onto the main courtyard harnesses the winter sun and becomes a radiant heat sink for the rest of the house. Materials are honest and allowed to patins gracefully. Finishes compliment the imposing heritage wall and allow for it to be absorbed into the site. The project has provided an opportunity to explore an alternative model for updating the inner-city two-storey terrace house into a comfortable modern home.

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