The Separation Street Townhouses, consisting of two double-storey contemporary dwellings, is an innovative solution to an architectural challenge put forward to dKO Architecture by clients who wanted quality architecture, but did not necessarily want to fork out a premium price. 

In a bid to meet both aims, the architects have made use of an upside-down living typology, while utilising passive environmental design measures to maximise occupant comfort with minimal costs and damage to the environment.

To capitalise on the spectacular views, northern sunlight and cross ventilation, the living precincts are zoned on the upper levels. Dual balconies extend the living areas, while full height screens filter light into the houses throughout the day.

In general, the architects have moved away from expensive ‘stick-on’ solutions, preferring to make use of sustainable elements that stand the test of time, thus ensuring that high quality and low costs – two seemingly distinct concepts – would work together hand-in-hand.

Furthermore, increasing accommodation for more residents allowed the project to maximise the utilisation of existing suburban infrastructure without sacrificing amenity for the inhabitants. Therefore, while the townhouses have met individual needs on a small scale, they have also countered the common issue of urban sprawl.


  • 5 star energy rated townhouses
  • The project addressed energy, water and resource energy through correct solar orientation, natural ventilation and careful space planning
  • Innovation in environmental sustainability comes from the increased density introduced to the site, which maximises existing infrastructure utilisation
  • Double-glazed windows and doors
  • Rainwater tank
  • Sun-shading screens

Images: Derek Swalwell